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(Biographical Dictionary of 

Carnatic Composers & Musicians) 

(Book II) 


(with an article by Dr. (Prof.) B. Ramamurthi) 



3, 24th Cross Street, 

Indira Nagar, 
Madras-600 020, India. 

if if 


j by AUTHOR 

'In 1990 N. Rajagopalan created history by publishing the first volt 
' A Garland ' ... it is a thesaurus containing the critical accounts of over ' 
artistes. It surpassed all the earlier works of a similar nature by 
comprehensiveness, analytical approach and musical insight... Another GarL 
will be ' Another Bonanza J to the music world and it is now its duty to salute 
for his dedication and perseverance. ' 

T.S. Parthasars 
Music Academy, Mac 

' Precious golden volume, richest treasure, an object of delicious 

pleasure that breathes history, delves into the labyrinths of 

music... It whets one's appetite for the Book II. 1 

Dr. Sakuntala Rajenc 
Editor, ' Shanmuki 

--' ; Very happy Another Garland will come out very soon. 

* '.... *r v< >/',. f'*?W '*'&. . .... 

GEN' : 

arty congratulations and felicitations. 

Prof. T.N. Krishnan, 
Vice Chairman, 
Sancjit Natak Akademy, De 

Typeset by 
Printed in India by 
Published by 

First Edition 92/93 

Chengacherial Printers, Madras-29 

Prakash Packagers, 257-Goiaganj, Lucknow-22601 

Carnatic Classicals, 

3, 24th Cross Street, 

Indira Nagar, Madras-600 020, India. 


1 200 Copies 

Price : Rs. 2 

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- 631 502 
: 11.6.1992. 

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A galaxy of composers, musicians, musicologists and hymnodists have 
played a vital and impressive part in the evolution and development of the 
science and art of our Carnatic music - from Bharata, Narada and Illango to Ravi 
Kiran, U. Srinivas and Shashank. Magnificent artistes like Maha Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar, Tanjore Quartette, Arunachala Kavirayar, Gopala Krishna Bharati, 
Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar, Papanasam Sivan, Vina Balachander, 
S.G. Kittappa and K.B. Sundarambal and the happily present vidwans like 
Semmangudi Dr, Srinivasa Ayyar, Dr, M.S. Subbulakshmi, Smt. O.K. Pattammal, 
Dr. Balamurali Krishna, Shri, Lalgudi Jayaraman and Prof. T.N. Krishnan have 
all played a highly distinguished part. 

Shri. N. Rajagopalan has the credit of bringing out the first-ever gargantuan 
Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers and Musicians in English titled 
1 A Garland ' in 1990 presenting exhaustive accounts of the lives of over seven 
hundred artistes. I find that it has been very well received and excellently 
reviewed by competent authorities. The author is following it up with his second 
book titled appropriately as ' Another Garland ' containing over 350 lives. The 
two ' Garlands ' thus cover well over a thousand lives, a formidable number 

The author, in his Preface, recalls the memorable words of Ben Johnson - 

' For, where his person liv'd scarce one just age, 
And that, 'midst envy and parts; then fell by rage; 
His dream too dying. 

But in books ... 

To all future time, not only doth restore 
His life, but makes that he can die no more.' 

The truth of the statement could not be better illustrated than by a 
Biographical Dictionary giving succinct accounts of the noble side of the lives of 
the devotees of Nada Yoga and Nadopasana. The articles in Part I of the Book 
and the notes in Part III present a wealth of information. Chronological table, 
definitions and index make it a complete source, book of reference, a ready 
reckoner and a book of treasure. I congratulate the author for the immense 
labour and expense he has put in and for presenting this treasure for the 
reference of musicians, music-lovers, teachers, students and researchers. I am 
happy to commend this Another Garland to the musical fraternity. 


April 28, 1992, Chairman and Managing Director, 

Indian Bank. 




(H.H. Sri ChandrasekharendraSaraswati, Paramacharyal, Kanchi Kamakoti 
Sankaracharya Mutt, Kanchipuram has given expression to the following golden 
observations in his lectures, some of which are brought out by Vanathi 
Padippagam in the admirable and soulful book Veivathin Kural'ln tamil.) 

L Appar, the Saivite canonized saint, has compared Divine Presence to - 

Flawless Veena rendition Flush of autumn bloom and 

Exhilarant evening full moon Lotus-studded pond with bees humming around. 

Rejuvenating southerly breeze 

The point here is the pre-eminent position given by Appar to good veena 
play. The Paramacharyal reminds us all of the spiritual message and benefits of 
chaste music rendition. Appar's hymn reads: 

' Magll veenaiyum, ma/a/ madhiyamum 
Veesu thendralum veengila venilum 
Moosu vandaraip poigaiyum pondradfie 
Eesan Endai Enayadi nizhafe.' 

\\. Sage Yagnavalkya, who gave Dharma Sastra, says that 'A/ac/opasana 1 
through blemishless veena play ensuring purity of sruti and accuracy of 
laya leads the devotee along the sure path of Salvation even without 

Dhyana, ^ Tapas and 

Yoga, Poojah. 

Veena Vadana Thathvagnah grutijathi vigaratah I 

Thalakagnascha aprayatnena mokshamarge sa gacchati. ' 1 1 

\\\. In his "Soundarya Laharf, Adi Sankaracharya describes how the musical 
scales - Sadja gramam, Madhyama gramam and Gandhara gramam 
have their origin in the neck of the Goddess. (Sloka 'Gale rekha, thisre...*) 

iv. The Goddess of Learning, Devi Saraswati is the source of veena play. Poet 
Kalidasa, in his l Navaratnamala\ brings to notice that Goddess Parasakti 
too plays on veena and gets lost in the seven swaras - thus becoming the 
Symbol of Tranquility and Gracious Heart; 

1 Sarigamapadani rafam tarn 
Veena sankranta kanta hasfanfam. ' 

'Santam mrudula swantam 
Kungabharafanfam namami sivakanfam. ' 

The soul of the devotee who prays with chaste music is blessed by the 
Goddess. The individual soul merges-in the Universal Soul, the Paramatma. 



1 COMMENCED the yagna of bringing out the first-ever, gargantuan 
Biographical Dictionary of Carnatic Composers, Vocalists, Instrumentalists, 
Musicologists and Hymnodists in the month of Margasirsha (Dhanus), extolled 
as the chosen month of God, December 1987. The first book titled 'A Garland' 
was graciously released by H.H. the Sankaracharya of Kanchi-Kamakoti 
Peetam, Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal, as a Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan 
publication on June 19, 1990, the first copy being received by Sri Haridhos Giri 
Swamigal, perhaps the lone crusading Bhagavata Maha Purusha now. It covers 
the lives of over seven hundred artistes both of the illustrious past and the 
memorable present. It has been acclaimed as a definitive source book of 
reference, a monumental dictionary, a ready-reckoner and an unparalleled 
treasure. Excerpts of the reviews find a place in Part III F of this book. Since the 
first book could not naturally cover the galaxy in entirety, this second book titled 
'Another Garland is presented (to be followed by 'Yet Another Garland' in due 
course since quite a number of artistes do not find time to give details ). 

Classical Carnatic music is but the continuance of ancient Indian music as 
it was prior to the advent of Persian influence and the attendant evolution of the 
Hindustani style. The tamil areas in the South had from pre-historic times a 
well-developed, scientific, distinct sytle known as Pann. The Indian (later called 
the 'Carnatic' from the days of the work Manasollasa) and the Tamil Pann had 
coalesced invisibly during the middle ages and presently the South has the 
Carnatic music and the North has the Hindustani music - of course, both 
raga-based with common and distinct features. The Garland Series brings to 
focus the illustrious lives of artistes expounding the Carnatic style. 

Classical music in India has fundamentally been the handmaid of spiritual 
savants and apostles for self-realisation and propagation of spiritual message. 
Though for some music may be professional, it has continued to be subordinated 
to the primary, ambrosial objective of spiritual enlightenment and advancement. 
'Our ancients realised (the power of music) almost at the very dawn of our 
history... soon found that the Gods were more easily gratified by the singing of 
the poetic hymns called Riks and they produced the Sama Veda... Bharata 
says that Brahma extracted the art and science of music from Sama Veda. 
(Dr. V. Raghavan). If classical music is Nada Upasana for the yogi in musician, 
it is solace and soulful joy (brahmananda) both to the initiated and the lay. 
Fortunately education or training is no pre-requisite to surrender one's soul to 
melody. Aapaaya Nayanar's enchanting life (page 274 in A Garland) is an apt 
and ideal illustration and consummation of the magic lure and ennobling spell 
of melody. 


Till the demise of the Second World War, the average Indian was basically 
wedded to spiritual endeavours to the neglect of materialistic pursuits and profit. 
The marriage of Man and Art was complete and harmonious and music 
flourished in a salubrious climate. The classical prospered with the folk music 
side by side both being patronised by royalty, landed aristocracy and temples. 
All the air, the aroma of music held benevolent sway. In fact, music was prasada 
to one and all, high and low, copiously distributed irrespective of caste, creed or 
race as music was free for all like air and water. Temples reverberated with vocal 
and instrumental music daily. Dramas, concerts and dances were in the open 
dishing out classical music in plenty and continuously to reach every man at his 
home and street ! Whether it be Ekadashi or Sivaratri, Rama Navami or Krishna 
Jayanti, marriage or funeral, success or defeat, music was made with foresight 
sine qua non. No nation or art can sustain itself nor can it flourish with dwarfs 
with a mere one or two of tall stature. Galaxy of giants appeared on the scene 
from time to time to rejuvenate the art and reorient the science - Vide the 
chronological table in Part IV. National genius presented successive waves of 
illustrious breeds of composers, musicians and musicologists who kept the 
musical fire and flame bright. The endeavour and vocation constituted a multi- 
dimensional effort to inculcate spiritual values, enlighten people, spread art and 
culture and incidentally provide occupation and entertainment nearer home. In 
fact the scheme of founding temples had the same profound socio-economic- 
cultural bias in India. That was the underlying concept of Village Swaraj pure 
and simple. Temples were the fulcra around which the lives of the people 
revolved. The environment was so sublime and all-pervasive that even a fanatic 
Aurangazeb could hardly find any means of avoiding and averting music and 
could not find the royal writ, place or the means to bury it. That was the prime 
reason for the monstrous intensity of his rage. There were fields of hereditary 
specialisation and implied division of labour as in the cases of hymnodists 
(odhuvars), nagaswara artistes and dancers. It is significant that renowned 
composers and musicians came up like the sixty-three Saivite Apostles 
(Nayanmars) from among the different strata of society since music was 
intrinsically a communal asset all along and free for all. That was Bharath, 
the Dharmabhoomi, the Mokshabhoomi wherein people from Nandanar to 
Narada flourished. 

The reducing tempo of services and festivals at temples during the last four 
decades, the invasion and onslaught of mike-based cheap music, the migration 
of artistes to crowded urban centres and concentration of all musical endeavours 
in a few metropolitan centres robbed and deprived the millions in the vast 
slumbering rural tracts of all exposure to classical music leaving them musical 
agnostics. The shifting of music from temples and dramas from street corners 
and river beds to sabhas and chambers stifled the growth of classical music. 
Classical music can flourish in its native charm, grandeur and glory only in an 
atmosphere of wprantfand not in the polluted, dusty turmoil of noisy towns and 
cities. The latter can hope to nourish it for a while but not nurse it 


through. As it is with grains and primary products, the city can consume but 
not hope to create music. Classical music based on improvisation has no future 
unless the imbalance is remedied and the rural reorientation is soon 
accomplished. George Ade said with rustic humour 

1 In the city, a funeral is just an interruption of traffic; 
but in the country, it is a form of entertainment . ' 

Even so, rural India certainly provides the appropriate environment and 
atmosphere needed and the psychological and emotional, mental ar>d moral 
influences for inculcating and imbibing music. The ultimate marketing may be in 
urban and rural centres but training and apprenticeship should be 

To subserve this, corporate aids and scholarships are to be canalised to 
restore to rural areas their legitimate share of music schools, concerts, fairs and 
festivals. Temples should play their part as before and youth associations should 
distribute their services and concerts among rural centres. Urban monopoly, 
urban-oriented artistes with one leg in music and another in jobs and casuals 
can never sustain the soul of the art for long. The tragedy of sickness overtaking 
the ambrosial, divine classical art has tp be averted. 

As stated above, rulers and landed aristocracy vied with each other in their 
patronage of composers and musicians and the cyclical patronage of royal 
courts at Vijayanagar, Tanjore, Trivandrum, Pudukottai, Mysore, Ettayapuram, 
etc., is worthy of being written in letters of gold. Temples provided the basic 
stamina at grass roots to nagaswara artistes and hymnodists in general and 
other musicians at festivals. These lent name, fame and stature to the artistes 
without doubt. It is also an undeniable fact that most of the artistes lived 
strangers to material affluence. They forgot their pangs of poverty and pain of 
hunger in yogic pursuits in the realm of melody. As beautifully observed by 
M.S.Golwalker : 

'India opted for the wealth of perfection, virtues and sublimity of the soul, which is real 
and abiding; and no wonder great heroes and monarchs have worshipped the dust of 
the feet of half-naked sanyasins who rose above selfish interests in the cause of 

The prime beneficiary, the Indian Society had the vision and nobility to glorify 
Eminence entrenched in Indigence and raised to immortality the dichotomy of nebulous 
earthly existence and weighty contributions in art, science and literature and their 
coparcenary. The torch-bearers of Classical music took pride in such a paradoxical 
existence ; and unselfish nadopasana took music not only to the temple prakaras and 
bhajan mandals quantitatively but also to the pinnacle of excellence and public 
acknowledgment as if in a quid pro quo. The position is not much different even now. 
A few musicians may, perhaps, revel in comparative prosperity; quite a number stand 
stopped at the portals of affluence while a vast majority have little access to it. 


It is a tragic fact of life that luck, opportunity and patronage bless but a 
chosen few. Taking public life for comparison, Satyamurti, connoisseur, 
office-bearer of the Music Academy, Madras and the most remarkable 
parliamentarian was not destined to become a Chief Minister as hoped for. 
Sardar Patel shaped Independent India but was not chosen for conferment of 
Bharat Ratna till at last he was found fit forty-five years later by a minority 
government for posthumous honour! Lai Bahadur Sastri ascended the gadi but 
the cruel hand of Death sniffed out his 'life at the time of his glory on alien soil. 
How many V.I. Ps. visit his samadhi ? ThatSimizhi Sundaram Ayyar, Mudicondan 
Venkatarama Ayyar and a host of others were side-lined is well-known. The 
Garlands shall accord them a true berth since, in the words of Ben Johnson, - 

" For, where his person liv'd scarce one just age, 
And that, 'midst envy and parts; then fell by rage; 
His deeds too dying. 

But in books ... 

To all future time, not only doth restore 
His life, but makes that he can die no more." 

Rulers and Aristocracy were not necessarily the standard-bearers of culture. 
In India, it was the saint, sage and the artiste, who 'rose above the mundane 
temptations of pelf and power' and dedi<5ated their all to art, culture and society, 
that were the torch-bearers. The 'gurukulavasa } scheme was born out of this 
lofty inspiring climate, It prospered here from before the days of the Ramayana 
and the Mahabharata till it was strangulated in the recent past and with it went 
the unique blend of the sire-son. relationship with the boon of the teacher-student 
nexus. At Kurukshetra, when Arjuna directed the first five arrows to the feet of 
Bhishma, the charioteer felt amused but the wise Bhishma exclaimed, 'My 
beloved Arjuna is prostrating before me with all his five pranas seeking my 
blessings*. Arjuna entertained the same respect to his preceptor Drona. 
Fortunately we have amidst us some elder musicians who had tasted the rigours 
and fruits of the now defunct system and it has been my earnest endeavour to 
bring their lives to record. The difficulty lies in getting the details since, in the 
words of Sir C.P. Ramaswami Ayyar, The self-imposed anonymity and 
self-effacement of Indian Art is one of the standing miracles of all times'. 

Some top musicians introduced novelties in presenting concerts during the 
Music Festival 1991-92 with orchestra as we have had brief spells of 
Rajarathinam with tambur and mridangam, Sarabha with tavil (of course, 
unavoidably), Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan and Mandolin Srinivas with tavil. A 
Bangalore artiste is reported to be giving Classical Carnatic music concerts to 
the beat of jazz percussion and jazz band ! Of course, it may be argued that 
one worships the Lord Siva and not the cordon of demons (boothaganas), 
prostrates before the deity and not the palanquin-bearers and pays obeisance 
to the guru-saint and not those who fan him ; and likewise the principal artiste 
and his contribution alone should count, But the quality and the strength of 


accompanists do contribute much to the wealth of the music rendered, to the 
success or otherwise of the concert in bringing out the soul of music to elevate, 
ennoble and enlighten the audience. The despicable reed survives the storm 
as it sways with it but the mighty oak falls as it stands rigidly.' Classicism has a 
science, tradition and an image with consequential constraints and need to 
safeguard its purity and integrity. Orchestra may entertain but Classical 
music enlightens and elevates. How far the infiltration of orchestra could be 
countenanced is to be analysed to guard against the mighty oak falling down. 
Crude experiments may be injurious because of imitation and profit. A patient 
was emotionally shattered driven by the illusion of the nearby banyan tree 
crashing down on ,his head. To disabuse his mind, the tree was stealthily 
removed when he was under anaesthesia. Startled to see it absent on waking 
up, the poor man screemed, 'Lo ! you had fallen on my head and crushed it P 
and died of shock. Let not noisy orchestra annihilate the mild and soft classical 
breed based on improvisation. 

I solicit a reference to my preface to the first book (reproduced next). A 
glossary, chronological table of artistes, bibliography, definitions and an index 
to biographies in both the books find place in Part IV to assist musicians, 
music-lovers, students and researchers. 

Part III-F carries an addenda and corrigenda to '/A Garland updating the 
details which may be read as part of the first book. They will be incorporated 
in the revised edition of Book I. 

The period 1990-1992 has witnessed many renowned musicians bidding 
adieu to the stage of Classical Carnatic music. Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa 
Ayyar, the senior-most Sangita Kalanidhi and veteran hailed as the 'Bhishma', 
announced his retirement in April 1992 after sixty-six eventful, record-breaking 
performing career. He commenced his career in 1926, one year earlier to the 
advent of the Music Academy, Madras and perhaps he is the first great artiste 
who has announced his retirement! Where is the question of retirement in 
politics and music? His announcement is without doubt historic! (I have a 
particular interest in this as he happens to be the 'son-in-law of my village', if 
the expression is permissible.) May the sage-counsel of the maestro continue 
to be available as his retirement is only as a performing artiste. 

O.K. Jayaraman, a Sangita Kalanidhi, the soft prince among prominent 
musicians died unfortunately in January 1991 -just seventeen days after he 
was crowned at the Music Academy leaving scores of disciples and a vast 
assembly of admirers, 'whose pang is bitter, oft-times bitter, when they recollect 
his loss'. Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari, another Sangita Kalanidhi and one of the 
performing Lady-Trinity, left on October 31 , 1 990 to be one of God's chorus celebrities 
and present Dasanjali for a change, leaving a large concourse of admiring and 
passionate disciples and well-meaning rasikas in India and abroad. 


11 Fled is that music; do I wake or sleep ? " - (John Keats). 

The cup of sorrow probably was not yet full ! Tragedy struck in the most 
heinous and lethal fashion killing Maharajapurarn Santhanam, the reigning 
supremo among Carnatic vocalists in a road accident on June 24, 1992. The 
first Sangita Kalanidhi to be killed so, and the second vocalist after John Higgins, 
Santhanam held undisputed sway and leadership presenting enchanting 
lakshya-lakshana music to the delight of millions. Sure he would have been at 
the helm for the remaining part of this century and perhaps the first decade of 
the next The supreme artiste demonstrated that Classical Carnatic music did 
attract gate-crashing crowds and, more particularly, the youth. 

11 He is gone, who seem'd so great Gone; 
but nothing can bereave him of the fame he made his own. " 

Veena colossus, S. Balachander was the tallest of instrumentalists and he 
too passed away suddenly. Many others have left too leaving a void which time 
and nature alone should heal. The loss of all these veterans is too much to Art. 

' They wear a truer crown 
Than any wreath that man can weave them. 
And in the vast bosom of Bharath leave them. 
God had accepted these eminent Nadopasakas 
To share the stage raised there for Mahanubhavas. ' 

( After Lord Tennyson ) 

Now, I DEDICATE this labour of love 'Another Garland ' to propagate the 
fragrant lives and achievements of Carnatic composers and musicians, to carve 
for myself a niche in the hearts of the Wise and the Learned and in pursuit of 
my own fulfilment'. 

MADRAS. (With respects to Sarngadeva, 

April 13,1992. author of Sangita Hatnakara.) 


11 No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money." Samuel Johnson. 

I am what I am ! 

' It is certainly unwise to pay too much attention to incidents which the credulous relate with eager 
satisfaction and the more scrupuluous or witty enquirer considers only as topics of ridicule/ 

Samuel Johnson. 



Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Ayyangar wrote: 

1 Indian Culture over the last ten thousand years has tried to preserve an impressive 
continuity of its own, whether it be the bullock-cart, the Gayafr/or the spirit of the Yagna ! ' 

With due respect to the learned Professor, Carnatsc Music can be added to 
it, since it is but the continuation of Indian Music as it was prior to the advent of 
Hindustani Music. Composers, musicians - vocalists and instrumentalists - 
musicologists, etc., come and go in a never-ending chain. The votaries have 
been increasing fast in numbers. Fortune, recognition and publicity crown the 
lives of some but many a musical genius is born to blush unseen and waste his 
fragrance in the desert air of neglect, lack of opportunity and perhaps Destiny. 
Time, with a complexity of pulls and pressures on it, takes notice of a few. 
Fortune and recognition confer their benign smile with spartan frugality on fewer 
still. Even if some are recognised, how many of them are remembered? Gems 
of men with noble and immortal contributions have faded into the realms 
of anonymity with the passage of time. Yehudi Menuhin said, 

1 All artistes are some gigantic Tennysonian band of light brigadiers 
for ever doing and dying without questioning their fate,' 

Institutions and lovers of the Art have, therefore, a duty to record alike- 

1 the short and simple annals' of the less fortunate artistes and 
' the boast of heraldry and the pomp of power' of the fortunate few. 

There are books on the theory of music. There are biographies of some 
individual composers and musicians. There are a few collections of more than 
one or two biographies. Revered Subbarama Dikshitar did bring out brief facts 
of seventy-seven lives in 1904. Abraham Pandithar in 1917 and later 
Prof. P. Sambamurti recorded some facts likewise. The venerable 
Dr. U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar thought of bringing out a collection on the lives of 
eminent musicians but his noble life was a fight against the clock and the 
calendar. His weighty contribution attracted the notice of the Lord and he was 
withdrawn to be by His side before he could take up the work. The 'Who's Who' 
of musicians has but a limited coverage, scope and content.* Thus there is no 
compilation of biographies in english giving details of past and present 
composers, musicians and musicologists for universal reference and circulation. 
Hymnodists were hitherto a neglected tribe, Hence I took up the arduous task 
of collecting and collating the biographies of all from libraries, newspapers, 

* Note : Dr. V.S. Sampathkumaracharya has recorded some lives in his Kannada book Karnataka 
Paribhashika Sabda Kosa. 


magazines and books and by contacting artistes in person and by post. I 
visited places like Tiruvarur, Anandatandavapuram, Marudanallur, 
Govindapuram, Varanasi, Kanchipuram and Tirupati but could not extend my 
visits further owing to constraints of finance. My work, analogous to that of a 
pearl-diver who gathers the oysters and not make them, has gone on like that 
of a dedicated ant prior to the onset of the monsoon. Mine has not been the 
role of a critic. I have also not the ear to listen to or the inclination to gather 
demeaning details. ('Human stories are always welcome to the prurient 
palate/)* Focus thus is on the man, the God's creation and not on the 
creations of man though they figure conspicuously. Parentage and training, 
trials and tribulations, achievements and attainments, honours and titles, 
anecdotes and landmarks have been brought in as fully as is possible with 
sincerity backed by the opinions and views of renowned authorities and 
scholars to ensure conceptual fidelity. 

I may pardonably mention that this work enjoys the merit and distinction of 

L the first of its kind in english with as many as seven hundred biographies-big 

and small, past and present; (Someone had said that the trouble with history 

" is that none lives beyond a page or two. Here are scores of artistes covering 

many more pages in spite of the constraints of space, number and finance.) 

ii. the first of its kind to bring within its scope the hymnodists (Oduvars) who 
have sustained the spiritual atmosphere through music in the far-flung 
temples as part of their daily duties: and 

iii. the first of its kind to take Carnatic Music as a whole without geographical or 
linguistic barriers, restraints and limitations. 

In my view this work comes out at the most apposite time when Classical 
Carnatic music is set to conquer untilled soils in other continents where advance 
guards have already established contacts, connections and outposts. Hinduism 
had done it; Buddhism has done it later spectacularly; Gandhian philosophy had 
done it recently and attracted intelligentsia all over the world. Now classical 
Carnatic music is set to succeed. 

SOUTH INDIA has the unique distinction of having set its heart and soul on 
Art and Culture. Is there any parallel to the hundreds of temples, sculptures and 
other cultural landmarks and activities seen in the entire stretch of Bharath south 

r Note ; Samuel Johnson is stated to have 'maintained that if a man is to write a panegyric, he may 
keep vices out of sight ; but if he professes to write a Life, he must represent it really as it Was, 
(stating that) it would produce an instructive caution to avoid drinking when it was seen that 
even the learning and genius of P. could be debased by it'. But later, according to Boswell, 
he had modified his stand on the question whether a man's vices should be mentioned ; for 
instance , whether it should be mentioned that A. and P. drank too freely ; 'for people will 
probably more easily indulge in drinking from knowing this ; so that more ill may be done by 
the example than good by telling the whole truth 1 . I have followed the second stand though 
the first has its merits and attractions. 


of the river Godavari ? Likewise, it has nurtured Carnatic music in the cradle of 
devotion with the fond care of a nurse, the loving passion of a mother, the 
far-sighted vision of a father and the wisdom of a guru, The fertile soil of the river 
systems, more particularly of the Cauvery, which led to a lot of leisure to the 
intellectual to follow his pursuits, innate genius of the people, robust cultural 
antiquity, congenial atmosphere for growth and the legacy of vibrant traditions 
helped the flowering and perfection of the Art and the Science of Carnatic music. 
Music was made sine qua non for auspicious functions and festivals - 
religious, social, cultural and even political. Temples and Mutts were the 
bastions and nerve-centres for the sustenance of musicians and propagation of 
music. Royalty was assigned the duty to provide patronage while cultured 
families took patronage of musicians as status symbols. For instance, do the 
cultural suzerainty and the magnitude of patronage extended by the Rulers of 
Tanjore bear any comparison to the extent of their geographical suzerainty ? An 
enlightened society enabled musicians command the respect of the ruler and 
the ruled. 


' This is the only country (U.K.) in the world where musicians are not expected to live. Qf 
course," composers and musicians have always starved and, as this is a sentimental 
country, we think the tradition should be continued. ' 

It is common knowledge that the remark has had its greatest relevance to 
India. But Indian genius made a subtle distinction in the conferment of its 
approbation. Deliberate intent wove glory around the art and the contributions 
of the artiste and rarely on the life of the artiste himself. The composer or the 
musician received rich dividends of praise and respect but rarely it touched the 
fringe of his economic well-being. The resultant indigence among artistes 
was the rule and fact of life. Nay, indigence was cultivated, practised and 
respected in India! It was eulogised as promoting the well-being of Art and 
through Art, the attainment of Truth and Excellence and thus the Ultimate. 

It was the genius and marvel of the Indian that by giving the spiritual capsule 
and cover to the normal fact of life, he adroitly took away the sting of economic 
distress. Abject poverty was the basic warranty of the artiste's absolute devotion 
and contribution to Art, Religion and Society. This basic ideal found its 
wavelengths in the concepts of Daridra-Narayana, Renunciation, etc. Rulers and 
the public respected such a status. The artiste took delight, not in his economic 
affluence or material prosperity, but in his artistic affluence and eminence raised 
on the sure basement of poverty. A Drona begged for a cpw to provide milk for 
his child though his magnificent archery would have driven herds of cattle to his 
home like a marauding Tartar or a Mongol. The Tallapakkam stalwarts, 
Purandara Dasa and the Trinity could have struck mines of gold but chose, by 


deliberate intent and conviction, to practise the concept outlined in the song 
'Nidhi chala sukhama\ The Saint of Tiruvisanallur, an intellectual seer, cried to 
the Lord not to curse him with wealth I 

Thus, in this atmosphere, the artiste gave his all. to Art - not as a mercenary 
but as a cultured devotee. The world understood his sacrifice even as it did the 
Heroes of Thermopylae and the Salt Satyagraha, stood before him and paid 
obeisance not only to the Artiste and his Art but also to his Indigence! That 
was the underlying basic difference between India and other countries though 
Johnson too had said, If misery be the effect of virtue, it ought to be reverenced'. 
Again it is this philosophy and way of life that Mahatma Gandhi, Vinobhaji and 
Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, the Senior Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram 
(Paramacharyal) understood, assimilated, practised and exalted. The Indian 
Genius prescribed 'Sacrifice first, Service next 5 . The slogan in agronomy is, 
'wffere rat is fat, man is lean'. In the field of Art, it was viewed that 'where artiste 
is lean, art is fat - with wealth and health', Art did prosper to dizzy heights in an 
environment of grinding poverty. It was almost universal before and continues 
to be so in respect of a large number of artistes. Fortune has favoured but the 
few brave, as the saying goes, 

I have said that people 'paid obeisance not only to the Artiste and his Art but 
also to his Indigence'. Dr. S. Radhakrishnan's observations are relevant in this 

' How did the people of Ajanta caves work ? They worked with the spirit of dedication; 
they were pilgrims of the infinite; they were people who had no concern for life and light... 
If anything can be regarded as permanent in this world those paintings will be. So also 
at Ellora; so also what you find in Mahabalipuram. Did they all work for money? Did they 
work for recognition? ... They wrote because they could not help writing; they painted 
because they could hot help painting; they sculptured because there was no alternative 
to that It was a necessity imposed on them; it was spiritual necessity. Here you find a 
tradition; here you have had many great writers, you have had many musicians, many 
good dancers, singers, etc. 

From the time of the ancient Indus Valley civilization down to Gandhi and 
Ramakrishna, you have one spirit, one kind of discipline which they exalted. " 

(Search for Truth) 

Great men of the past believed in 'Nishkamyakarma 1 - service without 
expectation and ego. Who had built the countless temples, dug the tanks, 
constructed the choultries we have inherited, and struggle even to maintain 
them? Vinobhaji thundered 'who gave air or the water? 1 The prima donna of 
Varnams, 'Viribonf continues to thrill but not much is known of its author. In fact, 
even his name is spelt differently. Recently, Semmangudi Dr, R. Srinivasa Ayyar 
said that the word 'Semmangudi' (the name of his village) confers on him a 
greater title and honour than all the doctorates, etc. Even so, when Adipayya 


was known to be the composer of the jewel 'Viriboni\ what other facts were 
needed, people had thought. Values are changing, The Nation has a sacred duty 
to remember them all, recount their services and 'relate their artistic tales'. 
Conditions have improved a lot but still hundreds languish The musical tradition 
that its aim is not mere entertainment, but a way of enlightenment and of 
achieving Godhood through praise of the Lord in His language still lingers. 

Now about the scheme of this work. Adoption of chronological order has been 
found to be difficult while alphabetical arrangement takes Purandara Dasa, the 
Trinity, etc., to the back pages as if in vindication of their ideals ! There are 
discrepancies in the dates and years of birth or death or lack of information of 
many due to adoption of local almanacs and other causes. (Beethoven is 
credited with maintaining against all evidence that he was born two years later.) 
The most delicate part of lexicographical pursuits is to determine who is alive 
and who has crossed the bar', said N. Slonimsky. Recording of deaths is avoided 
where it could not be verified. 

An incident recorded by Leslie Ayre may be mentioned here: 

11 Mascagni was staying at Hotel 'M' and outside an organ grinder used to play the 
intermezzo from the opera. But he always played it too fast. As he could stand it no 
longer, he told him to play it slowly. Next day, Mascagni saw the man with the placard: 


But because of our heritage, gurukulavasa and scholarships in recent years, 
some musicians have enjoyed a galaxy of preceptors! 

As far as is possible, popular spelling names of places, etc., like Ramnad, 
Tanjore, Ayyar, etc., has been followed. Vina/Veena, sangeeth/sangit, etc., are 
used as per practice relevant. 'Disc recordings' include cassettes, etc., 
Appetizers and pabulum are incorporated. 

IN CONCLUSION, I wish to confess that while taking up this arduous, 
awe-inspiring but fascinating work of vast proportions and baffling variety, I was 
conscious of the fact that I was treading on hallowed grounds. Only the fact that 
such a tribute deservedly due to the musical fraternity all along has not been 
made and the repeated words of cheer impelled me to take up this task 
resolutely. The 'Garland' is sure to be very informative to musicians, 
music-lovers, students and researchers and be a welcome reference book on 
Carnatic music at schools, colleges, universities and public libraries. This is a 
re f erence book which deserves to adorn all libraries in India and abroad. This 
pioneering thesaurus, The 'Garland' is unique in numbers, quality and range of 



In a work such as this Garland series, sources are scattered, multitudinous and 
overlapping not to speak of contradictions. In this pearl-fishing, the net was cast wide 
and deep to collect the valuable oysters through requests in news-papers, individual 
letters and by personal contacts. Quite much of valuable information was collected from 
books and journals. 

I offer my humble obeisance to H.H. the Paramacharyal Sri Chandrasekharendra 
Saraswati Swamigal, to H.H, the Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt Sri Jayendra 
Saraswati Swamigal and to H.H. Sri Vijayendra Saraswati Swamigal of Kanchipuram. A 
fresh Srimukham of H.H. Sri Sankaracharya adorns this volume. 

I owe a debt of gratitude to 

a. the vast galaxy of composers, vocalists, instrumentalists, musicologists and 
hymnodists, who have held aloft the sacred banner of Classical Carnatic 
music through centuries facing undauntedly the coercive, repressive 
measures of invading unmusical hordes, chill penury and vicissitudes, like 
Patience sitting in monument smiling at grief, in their relentless mission to 
sustain the most ancient of musical systems still extant today; 

b. the numerous music-lovers and musicians and magazines like Shanmukha 
and Sangeetham (USA) who gave a word of cheer and encouragement 
whispering, 'Several talked about such a work, but only you have done 
if in tune with what Barnard M. Baruch said, "Millions said that the 
apple fell; but Newton was the one to ask why'; and 

c. the numerous authors, institutions, publishers and artistes who are the 

I record my deep debt of gratitude to 

i, 'Srutfand 'Shanmukha', magazines dedicated to the promotion of excellence 
and preservation of valued traditions in music and dance presenting valuable 
information on the lives of artistes; 

The 'Hindu', 'Indian Express', and other newspapers and journals; and 
. Reputed institutions like the Music Academy, Kalakshetra and Sampradaya; 
My thanks are specially due to 

a. Sri M. Gopalakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Bank for 
providing a lucid foreword ; 

b. The Indian Bank, Madras for graciously co-sponsoring this publication ; 

c. Sarvasri T.V. Srinivasan, I.A.S. (Retd.) a long-time colleague of mine and a 
perpetual source of inspiration and H.K. Narasimhaswami, Superintending 
Epigraphist (Rtd.) Archaeological Survey of India ; 

d. Sri S. Rajam, a prince of culture, for his drawings and pictures in this book ; 

e. Brigadier B. Ramamurthi for his highly enlightening article ( in Chapter X-B) ; 

f. Sri. K. S. Venkatraman of M/s.. Chengacherial Printers & Publishers, Madras-29. 

g. My thanks are due to TIrumalai * Tirupati Devasthanams for the financial aid 
granted for furthering the project and printing this book. 


This pioneering work 


(Biographical Dictionary of 

Carnatic Composers and Musicians* Book II) 



my loving mother, Lakshmi alias Chellammal 
my saintly father, Naganatha Sastrigal, 

my Gurus 

Sri Papanasam Sivan 

Sri Subbarama Bhagavatar 

Sri. P.R. Sundar Rajan 


rny patron Deities 

Sri ParvathavardhinF-Sameta 
Sri Ramanathaswami of Rameswaram, 

Sri PiJrna Pushkalambika sameta 
Sri Hari-Hara-Puthraswami, Mandhai and 

Sri Alarmelumangal sameta 
Sri Venkateswaraswami, Tirupati. 

* * * 



i. The Sankaracharyas of Kanchi-Kamakoti Math,. Kanchipuram. 

H. The Heart of Carnatic Music - The course of the river 
Cauvery indicating select musical nurseries and cradles. 

ifi. The fragrant quartette - 

Sri Tyagaraja, Fragrant Gold. 
Sri Muthuswami Dikshitar, Architect of Ragaform. 
Sri Syama Sastri, the Talaprastara maestro. 
Sri Gopalakrishna Bharati, Father of 

Tamil Music Renaissance. 

iv a. Jagatguru Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal releasing 

'A Garland ', the first copy being received by Sri Haridos Giri 
Swamigal on June 19, 1990 at Kanchipuram. Sri Vijayendra 
Sarawati Swamigal is all smiles. 

b. The author is speaking at the function releasing A Garland. 

v. Krishna Bhajana Mandiram- Anniversary Celebrations- Photo 
showing a galaxy of musicians and Mandhai Krishna Ayyar. 

vi, Commemorative Stamps issued by the Government of India . 

vii. Musical Contest on yazh as described in Jeevaga Chintamani 
Panels from the sculpture of Chola period in the temple of 
Ponsai, Tanjore District. 

viii. Madras Brothers (Vocalist S. Rajam and 

Dr. Veena S. Balachander). 

be. Ravi Kiran, the child prodigy giving a concert at the Music 
Academy at the age of 2-3. Unmatched achievement ! 

x. K.B. Sundarambal, the vibrant musician with matinee idols 
Dr.M.G. Ramachandran, former Chief Minister and 
Dr. Selvi Jayalalitha, present Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu. 

xi. "Let Us Skip Tiruvaiyaru" - The Celestials arrive at Tiruvaiyaru. 

xil. A Garland of Maestros : The design shows from top left to top right : 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Patnam Subramania Ayyar, Poochi 
Srinivasa Ayyangar, Umayalpuram Narayana Ayyar (ghatam), 
Tanjore Krishna Bhagavatar (harikatha), Coimbatore Raghava 
Ayyar, Lalgudi Radhakrishna Ayyar (Violinist), Tanjore 
Narayanaswami Appa (mridangam), Patnam Subramania Ayyar 
and Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar -a\( celebrities. 

xiii. Melakarta Chart with the Katapayadi Formula. - Back outer 



Table of 





PREFACE ... 5 

PREFACE to 'A GARLAND 1 ( First Book ) reproduced. 1 1 







I Tamil Isai ... 23 

II Raga- An Intellectual Property? ... 30 

III Women in Melody ... 33 

IV Trends and Trends ... 39 

V Jealousy - The Arch Destroyer ... 44 
VI Nadopasana is Transcendental Bliss ... 49 

VII Contests and Challenges - II ... 52 

Vtll Purandara Dasa Challenged . ... 62 

IX Classical Extravaganza ... 68 

X A: Climactic Dazzle ... 71 

B; Man's Admiration for the Surpreme 

- By Prof. (Dr.) B. Ramamurthi. ... 72 

XI Cradles of Music - II ... 74 

XII Soul of Eminence is Immortal. ... 77 

XIII LetusskipTiruvaiyaru-AFarce. ... 78 




Biographical Sketches of Carnatic Composers, .. 85 

Musicologists, etc. 

(Combined Alphabetical Indices for Book I and Book II are given in Part IV.) 


A. Great Events, Memorable Performances and Unique Records. 346 

B. Deeds, Thoughts and Sayings ... 368 

C. Aphorisms and Epigrams ... 383 

D. Interesting Notes and Incidents ... 395 

E. Musicians and Music ,., 430 

F. Addenda and Corrigenda to A Garland (Book I) ... 447 


f A. Glossary ... 474 

B. Bibliography ... 433 

C. Chronological Table of Composers, Musicians, Etc., 

(Book I and Book II consolidated.) ... 489 

D. Index to Individual Biographies in Part II 

(Book I and Book II Consolidated) ... 505 

'No, madam; of all noises music is the least disagreeable/ 



The Bard of Tiruvaiyaru hails it as Rajarajeswari. The people of the delta 
worship it as their honoured mother or beloved daughter. From pre-historic times 
it has generated a vibrant civilisation and sustained a glorious culture that was 
soulful and a soul that was cultured. It has nurtured and cradled art, architecture, 
music, dance and everyone of the sixty-four arts in a measure that is the envy 
of the combined glory of Greece, Rome and Egypt. It is the River Cauvery, the 
Pride of the South. The map shows the river from Mettur Dam to its end at 
Poompuhar and the delta. The numbers on the map indicate the approximate 
situation of the musical centres shown against each below: 

1 . Tirupoonturuti, Tiruvaiyaru 

2. Budalur 

3. Vaiyacheri, Titte, Soolamangalam, Ayyampettai 

4. Mangudi, Melattur, Uthukadu 

5. Valangaiman, Marudhanallur, Visalur 

6. Kabistalam, Umayalpuram, Swamimalai 

7. Tirucherai, Kodavasal, Semmangudi, Injikudi, Paruthikudi 

8. Konerirajapuram, Tiruvizhimalalai, Tiruppamburam, Achuthamangalam 

9. Maruthuvakudi, Tiruvidaimarudur, Tirubhuvanam, Govindapuram, 

Kuttalarn, Tiruvaduthurai 

10. Tirupanandal, Tirukodikaval, Tiruvisanallur, Pandanallur, Marathurai 

11. Komal, Gudalur, Mandhai, Kothavasal, Keeranur 

12. Vaideeswarankoil, Anandatandavapuram, Tiruvenkadu, Sembanarkoil 

13. Nachiarkoil 

14. Tirumarugal, Tiruchengattangudi, Nagore 

15. Udayarpalayam, T. Pazhuvur 

A f\ fc I/-X-T- -1-/-N /"\/-V 



The KRITI and the CURE 

Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati visited Vidyaranyapura Agrahara on the 
western banks of river Tunga and entered the temple of Sri Sadasiva. Subramanya Sastri 
was living in a house within the temple compound and was performing puja. He was a 
violin master as well. He was for a long time suffering from stomach pain. His Holiness 
looked at him compassionately and advised him to play Amba Natho Vinnappamu, a kriti 
of Pallavi Gopala Iyer, daily at Brahma Muhurta for a cure. Subramanya Sastri faithfully 
followed the command of the Jagadguru and shortly got completely cured. 

Tattvatoka XV - 3 




THE WORD 'Karnafa/cam' refers not only to some undefined parts of 
Peninsular India but also to what is traditional and ancient. 'Carnatic' is 
presumably a derivative of it. Carnatic Music is taken as the Indian music legated 
to posterity by ancients like Bharata, Sarngadeva, ef a/, as invasions and 
external influences happened to mould in North India a modified style now 
broadly classified as Hindustani music. Carnatic and Hindustani styles do retain 
the common heritage of being raga-based. In the tamil areas of the South, 'Pann' 
or Tamil Isai has had a hoary antiquity. The Qilappadhikaram, one of the 
ambrosial tamii epics (2nd - 3rd century A.D), revolves around music and dance. 
Madhavi, the heroine and Kovalan, the hero excel each other in music. Dance 
and music unite them as none else had been since their union isolates Kannagi, 
the just-wedded wife from her spouse for ever - yes, for ever. Though they come 
together at the end, it is only for tragic fate to intervene and cut asunder eternally 
the husband from the wife. If Music and Dance had united Madhavi and Kovalan, 
it is the same twin that leads to their parting of ways ending the spell of palmy 
days. Both are specialists in playing on the instrument 'yazh' which was then 
pre-eminently popular. 'Jeevaga Chintamani ' of Tirutakka Devar (9th century) 
portrays heroine Gandarvadattai as declaring that she would marry only the man 
who scores over her in playing on yazh! The passion -the domineering love of 
music is thus highlighted. Jeevagan accepts, the challenge. His attempts to get 
at a yazh which enjoys immaculacy reveal his immense knowledge of 
musicology and expertise in the art of manufacture of the instrument itself. He 
discards many instruments - each for specific defects like the wood being soft, 
decayed, damaged (wounded) or struck earlier by thunderbolt; and finally 
selects one. He is not satisfied with it either! He has to remove streaks of 
unwanted nerves. That reveals the absolute mastery of the art and science by 
Tirutakka Devar and the artistes of his period too a thousand years back. 

Sekkizhar was a saintly poet to whom language and religion are eternally 
indebted. Aanaaya Nayanar is ene of the Saivite Apostles described by him in 
his 'Per/a Puranam' written during 1139-1140 A.D. If Gandarvadattai and 
Jeevagan excelled in. yazh, Nayanar's forte was in flute which has exercised a 
magic spell in India unparalleled in the history of musical instruments, Nayanar 
was a cow-boy unlettered and innocent. His flute-play was so divinely melodic 
that man, animal and the woods lost their animation and, true to the Advaita 
philosophy, lost themselves in the melody that emanated from the bamboo pipe 
holes - Vide page 274, A Garland. Tamil music was not a mere product of the 
fertile imagination of poets. As scripts are apt to be lost, Pallava Mahendra 
Varman (590 - 630 A.D) did not take chances. His Kudumiamalai rock 
inscriptions near Pudukottai are in elegant pallava grantha characters with one 


line in tamii, The queen of Kulottunga Chola (12th century) did not stop with 
mastering music but proudly assumed the name of 'Ezhisai Vallabhf - Mistress 
of the Seven Notes ! Music pervaded the Palace, the habitations, the grazing 
fields and the rock. It was the staple of Tamilian life indeed ! This is an undisputed 
and undeniable fact. 

Dr. Mu. Arunachalam, who taught Saiva Siddhantaatihe Benares University, 
has garnered clinching evidence to re-establish that music in tamil areas,- then 
called Pann, was in a very advanced state of perfection as an art and a science. 
He opines that it is contrary to truth to contrast Tamil Isai - Pann as distinct from 
Carnatic music, that music has always played a dominant role in tamilian culture, 
and that Bharata, author of the most ancient treatise Natya Sastra, was himself 
a tamilian, who migrated to the North to spread tamil music and brought out the 
Sanskrit version Natya Sastra to further his objectives! In his works 
Dr, Arunachalam stakes the claim that the several works in Sanskrit on music 
owe their birth and inspiration only to tamil music and concludes 

i. that there was then no scientific music literature in the whole of India 
except in Tamil Nadu, 

ii. that all the music which then existed was only tamil music; and 
iii. that there was no other music. 

Many scholars may think that this is non-sequitur, and not a mere faux pas but 
reductio ad absurdum. But exaggeration is the essence of propagation of truth 
and its publicity! 

Dr. N, Mahalingam clarifies how luxuriant tamil music metamorphosed into 
Carnatic music. Someswara Bhooloka Malla Varman (1116-1127 A.D) of the 
Western Chalukyas who authored the prominent thesaurus 'Manasa Ullasa' 
called the music of the South - of the tamils included - as 'Karnataka 
Sangeetham 1 and the term has turned immortal. 'Karnataka' is made mention 
of by Kallinadha and Govinda Dikshitar. 

Confining this discussion to the issue how pann music with such a glorious 
past came to suffer total eclipse that even its name came to be lost in obscurity 
and disuse, we have to turn to another Tamil Savant, T Lakshmana Pillai of 
Trivandrum, a composer of eminence in tamil, scholar and musicologist. What 
he says is, in fact, applicable to all languages and musical systems. He says: 

1 It is a patent fact that, although we have ever so many compositions in tamil set to music, yet 
musical compositions as such, i.e., the compositions of lyrics calculated to embody the highest 
rhythmic expression of pure beauty in sound, has been a rarity in tamil. This has been an 
achievement by masters of Carnatic music in the telugu language. Not that tamil, which is so rich, 
sweet, tender and soul-stirring, has been found to be inappropriate. Far from it. The experiment 
has simply never been tried.' _ "Songs" - September 1 933 


Pillai's enormous passion and love of undoubted purity for tamil do not cloud 
his analysis and he strikes at the truth behind the apparent tragedy of tamil 
yielding its primacy to telugu in the field of musical compositions during the last 
three centuries, His conclusion is accurate and correct. It is not denied that 
Muthu Thandavar (16th century), Marimutha Pillai and Arunachala Kavirayar 
(18th century) did bring out classical songs in tamil but they had a limited range 
and style. And demand outstripped the supply. To make this fundamental 
difference more clear, mention may be made of the distinction between Sahitya 
Kavitvam where Sahitya (text) claims primary attention as in the case of the 
songs of Annamacharya and Sangita Kavitvam where music assumes 
dominance. It is the difference between kriti and kirtana. R.A. Jayantha refers 
to this in 'Composers' thus: 

1 That Annamacharya knew all the musical modes and forms of his times is obvious from 
his works. But he conceived his pada, as did the earlier devotional singers, primarily as 
devotional poetry. Music was mainly an aid to render them effectively. 

The kritis of Tyagaraja and others, on the contrary, are conceived generally as musical 
compositions; and their poetry, however impressive, is mainly a verbal scaffold for 
raising a musical structure. Musical thought, rather than poetic thought, seems to 
determine their structure pattern. ' 

The same point is stressed by R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar when he says: 

' As a vehicle for musical expression, tamil is not inferior to telugu, Sanskrit, kannada or 
malayalam. But most of the tamil compositions are hybrid products. The words of a 
tamil scholar innocent of music have been grafted on the music of a singer practically 
illiterate. ' 

'Musings of a Musician'. 

The fundamental point for notice is that verses are not songs and, even if 
set to tunes, rarely could be melodic enjoying the graces of pure music which 
could stand the test of time. Some non-musicians like the Kadigai Pulavars, 
Arunachala Kavirayar, Periaswami Thooran and Ambhujam Krishna wisely 
availed of the services of musicians even while composing and perhaps were 
able to imbibe the melodic needs and graces required and induct and inject them 
in their compositions. 

Of course, in the last century and the present, a galaxy of tamil composers 
appeared like Kavi Kunjara Bharati, Gopala Krishna Bharati, Vedanayakam 
Pillai, Ghanam Krishnier, Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar, Ramaswami Sivan, 
Tanjore Quartette, Nilakanta Sivan, Annamalai Reddiar, Subramania Bharati 
and Papanasam Sivan. The impact made till the middle of this century was not, 
however, impressive since the musical market was already the monopoly of 
telugu composers, telugu songs and musicians fully oriented in them. Audience 
might not have fully appreciated the sahitya but felt drawn by the lure of the 
captivating tunes of masters. The Carnatic Trinity (1 762-1 847) who hailed from 
Tiruvarur and composers immediately before and after them had presented 


exquisite, bhava-Iaden, rasa-oriented, melody-based matchless songs in plenty. 
Where there was a drought before, there came cyclonic floods. The Cauvery 
and other rivers saw flood-waters to the brim; rivulets, canals and channels all 
flowed with the fragrant waters of such compositions. The reservoir of telugu 
songs did not also get depleted but got replenished repeatedly. There were 
periods of political vacuity and occasional economic droughts but telugu songs 
occasionally spiced with Sanskrit and tamil songs presented a picture of 
affluence, prosperity and satisfaction. There was indeed a glut of telugu songs. 
The preference to the telugu songs was never on grounds of language ; and to 
state so, is unfair. The telugu compositions readily answered a felt need, 
satisfied the pangs of heart and soul and met the cry^of artistic desire. In 
Thevararn, there was no scope for improvisation. It was more or less equivalent 
of the Gregorian chant -the Church music of the West', writes Dr.S.Ramanathan, 
an authority on tamil music. Surely few could resort to verses and set them to 
tunes as they could not answer the melodic demands of a musically-oriented 
community where music is a must for everything - worship, festival, function, 
birth or death. It would be the difference between a Beethoven and a Macaulay 
prose or a Miltonic poem being set to tune. While the demand for songs 
increased multifold, the market was full of immortal tamil literature but few tamil 
songs. Folk songs and Thevaram could offer no melodic pieces for full-scale 
concerts. Kambar, Villiputturar, Ottakoothar electrified the field of literature but 
had no time to enter the field of melody. The emphasis of the times was on 
poetry and not on lyrics. Here is a specimen of the alternatives that confronted 
Lord Byron : 

* !'ve half a mind to tumble down to prose: 
But verse Is more in fashion. ' 

T Lakshmana Pillai has to be understood, accepted and conceded. The 
telugu songs were presented on a platter for students to learn quickly and 
musicians to sing without ado. As the landholder travelling in his cart sees his 
car coming, he gets down and boards it. It is not aversion to the former but a 
preference to the latter vis-a-vis travel comfort and conditions. He comes back 
and summons his cart to go to his field since the car is ill-suited for it. It was so 
with musicians and music-lovers. No partiality; no aversion. How can one have 
aversion to a language rich in its history and literature and is the mother tongue ? 
Fully cooked dishes in crisp and spiced telugu came to be available in plenty 
and the craze to compose in telugu was also the phenomenon of the times. 
Acharya Kripalani told Frank Antony in Parliament that english would be 
spoken by Indian children even if it is forgotten in England and he even mimicked 
how our children called 'mummy 5 . Tamil had invaded Indonesia centuries back. 
Telugu compositions came to invade musical forums here. Tamil compositions 
of the few masters held the field with select musicians but could not command 
primacy. It was pure invisible market mechanism with no non-musical overtones. 


colours as the melody-market expanded. The expansion is attributable to the 
supply of the rich telugu fare. When the reservoir is full and replenishment is 
good, outflow is naturally copious. 

Sanskrit could be said to be above the common man's reach; but telugu 
suffered no such inhibition. The telugu of the Trinity and others of the South is 
not the puritan language of scholars of Upper Andhra but of the people in Tamil 
Nadu speaking tamil or tamiiised telugu. Besides there is a substantial telugu - 
speaking segment in Tamil Nadu. When Eminence composed songs in telugu, 
other celebrities followed impelled by a desire to join the rank of immortals and 
not out of any felt or spelt antagonism to tamil. (What one sees now in respect 
of english is similar. English medium schools enjoy a gala field and time.) 
Bhava-based telugu songs full of melodic content and scope for nuances 
available in hundreds stole the show and monopolised concerts as musicians 
are rarely composers, choreographers or tune-setters. They are retailers mostly, 
their tour de force being melodic presentation. Telugu, termed the Italian of the 
East, praised by Bharati himself as 'Sundara' (sweet), enjoying soft-flow with 
tenderness of tone monopolised classical concerts in the South. 'We did sing in 
tamil though there were not many good compositions. Tamil songs were then 
few', says Dr.Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar. Other musicians too had availed of 
tamil songs, while a few had ignored them, which was an error in approach and 
judgment. An erroneous belief identifying classicism with telugu songs had also 
gained ground earlier resulting in some established artistes refraining from 
singing the available tamil songs. The position from the view-point of tamil as a 
language was rather strange viewed against its pre-eminence in literature and 

Musicians not conversant with telugu committed mistakes in pronunciation 
erroneously conveying the sahitya-bhava in varying degrees which came up for 
criticism and gave an edge to the demand for tamil songs. Subramania Bharati 

"Several musicians do not know that the Soul of Music lies only in the Navarasas.. . they 
eliminate the life of music and project only the bare body - the corpse of music ! Most 
of the vidwans do not know the meaning. They murder or swallow letters and words. A 
person who does not know the meaning cannot bring out the rasas (emotions)." 

K.V. Srinivasa Ayyangar, the senior among the Tiger Trio and a musicologist 
of repute, in his 'Tyagarajah Hrudayam' referred 'to the murder of sahitya out of 
sheer ignorance of the language' and to the consequential absence of bhava 
and rasa. To the knowledgeable, this is unpardonable, (if someone sings the 
matchless Freedom Struggle song 'Acchamilla? in 'Sahana\ the raga of 
compassion and pity, even Pandey of the First War of Independence, 
Vanchinathan of Ashe Murder case and Tiruppur Kumaran who all willingly 
sacrified their lives for the country would have been enfeebled and turned 


and to understand what is presented, the audience has to know the Language. 
So there was considerable vocal insistence not only for tamil songs but for tamil 
songs alone. Synchronising with this, the output of telugu songs also diminished 
during the present century and there was meagre replenishment to the 
repertory. Songs of sublimity such as those of Papanasam Sivan or Uthukadu 
Venkatasubba Ayyar in tamil and those of the Trinity in telugu or Sanskrit are 
not composed everyday. 

The plea for tamil songs coincided with the Tamil Resurgence Movement. 
Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar of Chettinad was the principal inspiration behind 
the Movement for Tamil Isai. 1929 saw him founding the Meenakshi College of 
Music at Chidambaram and 1932 its affiliation to the Annamalai University, also 
founded by him. The First Tamil Isai Conference held at Annamalai Nagar in 
August 1941 evoked considerable response and enthusiasm and was held 
amidst much fanfare with the University to back it. The Conference resolved that 
songs sung at concerts should be entirely in tamil. This stand drew a barrage 
of criticism and came up for an equally vehement support. Justice 
T.L Venkatarama Ayyar said that while perceptible changes had occurred in 
recent decades, over-enthusiasm in the cause of tamil songs was not correct 
since most of the available repertory in tamil lacked the aesthetic and technical 
perfection found in the compositions of the Trinity. He said: 

1 In the field of music pure and simple, the language of the. piece is necessarily of 
secondary importance. Music has a language all of its own and transcended the 
language of the composition, The excellence of a song could be judged only by the 
manipulation of the swaras themselves within the confines of the raga and not merely 
by the words or the language used, ' 

T.T. Krishnamachari opined that restricting a concert to tamil songs alone 
would severely deter any advancement whatsoever in music and that it would 
be linguistic vandalism to fit in or dub words of one language to famous 
compositions in another language. The pro-changers found in Tiger K. 
Varadachariar a strong supporter and he clarified meaningfully: 

' The object of the Tamil Isai Movement is not to oust songs in other languages but to 
give tamil audiences the best appreciation of tamil music. This is a movement towards 
the enrichment of tamil; but it also involves the enrichment of music. ' 

Tiger was a liberal known for his robust views. The movement enlisted the 
support of eminent musicians and composers like Suddhananda Bharati, 
Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, Musiri Subramania Ayyar, Madurai Mani Ayyar, 
Chittoor Subramania Pillai, Papanasam Sivan and K.B. Sundarambal to preside 
over the Annual Tamil Isai Conferences. The Music Festivals simultaneously 
held feature songs in tami! alone and there have been occasionally full-scale 
concerts only with the compositions of Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar and tuned 
verses from Kamba Rarnayanam. It is worth a mention that several celebrated 
musicians like G.N. Baiasubramaniam, Musiri Subramania Ayyar and Madurai 


ii Ayyar had always a passion for songs in tamil and have delighted the 
ience with sparkling songs indicating that neither the langugage nor the 
tic was deficient or at fault and that it was only that the genius of the tamil 
not been directed to bring out adequate musical compositions in the 
turies past. 

Tamil songs of eminent composers are now available and have taken their 
tful place well patronised and appreciated. Language is no barrier now. 
re is a happy blend, co - existence and co - parcenary of songs in tamil and 
\r languages. Numerous publications in tamil have helped this development. 
Tamil Isai Movement is to be congratulated for taking Pann research and it 
be hoped that the demand of musicians to make the inimitable Thevararn 
other spiritual hymns concert- worthy would receive due attention so that 
e immortal treasures find wider exposure through concerts. Of course, the 
i is tortuous and the result unknown. 

Unimpeachable Evidence 

Mention has been made of the tamil epic Jeevaga Chintamani wherein the contest 
een Gandarvadattai and Jeevagan has been mentioned. Dr. M. Rajamanikkanar 
re for Historical Research, Tiruchirapalli has brought to light a sculpture in the 
le of Nalthunai Ishwara in Ponsai village, Mayiladuthurai area. The panel is in two 
>s. One half portrays a male artiste seated with a yazh supported on his right thigh, 
ght hand being placed over the strings and the left hand at the tail-end. The other 
}f the panel presents a beautiful woman with a yazh resting on her thigh with the 
and on the strings and the right hand at its tail-end. The photo of the sculpture is 
i in this book. It shows other figures - either friends or accompanists. Dr. 
kovan, Director of the Centre, unequivocally avers that the panel represents the 
\ of the contest between Gandarvadattai and Jeevagan. His version is fully 
>table. The fact that the scene finds mention in literature and a place in sculpture 
that it may be based on some real event of the times. 

* * * 

eorge V frequented the opera La Boheme. Thomas Beecham asked : 
*Is this opera your favourite?' 

Td be most interested to know why/ 
"Because it's much the shortest ! ' 
( So, lesser the length, greater the interest ! ) 




Two stalwarts of the musical world visualise a comprehensive project wprthy 
of the ancient art to arrest the apparent deterioration in audience-attendance at 
concerts and to invigorate the presentation of classical music at rural centres 
which now stand starved of good music consequent on the accelerated migration 
of musicians to Madras and the decelerated conduct of temple festivals and 

On an auspicious day, the two veterans enter the chambers of the popular 
Chairman and Managing Director of a Lead Bank. The Chairman, a connoisseur 
of music, is delighted to see the Bhishma and the Yuthishtira of Carnatic music 
together and receives them with his accustomed warmth. The two musical 
colossuses with round faces brimming with self - assurance explain in brief their 
project and indicate how it depends on the outlay of considerable funds, The 
broad smile that pervaded the rectangular face'of the Bank Chief slowly yields 
to visible strains of serious thinking - the anxiety to support a good project 
seeking to dominate and prevail over banking norms and vice versa. 

Security? The Senior undertakes to pledge his right to sing in raga 
Kharaharapriya and the Junior his right to sing in raga Mohanam or Bilahari or 
both, There is no mention of personal or other security. Puzzled by the strange 
offer to pledge individual right to sing in specific ragas, the Chief seeks 
clarification. The applicants point out how Todi Sitararna Ayyar got a loan 
pledging his rights to sing in raga Todi and how Sankarabharanam Narasier 
gotfunds by mortgaging his rights to sing in Sankarabharanam as security, hov/ 
they had proved that the plighted word of a true artiste is the best of securities 
and how they did not resort to their favourite fours de force till they were 
redeemed. They adduce further proof by, describing how the great Maha 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar himself had called the song 'Giripaf (Sahana) as the 
property of Bikshandarkoil Subbarayar and how Tyagaraja relinquished his 
right to compose in raga Anandabhairavi at the instance of Tirubhuvanam 
Swaminatha Ayyar as exercises in Property rights in ragas'. The Bank Chief 
could not reconcile himself to the validity of these averments vis-a-vis the 
Banking Law. True to the dictum that not only things are done well but are seen 
to be done so, he requisitions the services of the Law Officer of the Bank. The 
legal luminary starts giving an elaborate unmusical alapana on the legality of 
the request as if intent on tearing to shreds any remote possibility of the musical 
project going on steam with Bank funds got on the basis of the cited mortgages. 
To the misfortune of the musical luminaries, he is seen to be an avatar of a 
musicologist ex-officio. 


The Law Officer clarifies that Indian 'raga' has no fixed shape, notation or 
set mode of rendition, that within the broad portals of the arohana and the 
avarohana, the musician improvises and innovates like the serene flights of 
Garuda (eagle) based on his training, expertise and talents and such exposition 
varies with each concert like shapes assumed by passing clouds or their 
shadows. A genuine classical artiste does not / cannot conform to any set 
pattern or style in toto. He illustrates his point with the known fact how the same 
raga adopted for different songs composed by the same person, liberates 
various shades of the raga swaroopa or shape without any element of repetition 
or duplication of graces, gamakas and brikas or modes of presentation. Raga 
rendition thus does not lend itself to be 'patented 5 or 'copyrighted' as everyting 
is fresh, alterable, original and obvious everytime. No artiste can claim to have 
'created', 'designed' or 'patented' a raga to qualify for copyright! If a brika 
resembles T.N. Rajarathinam's Tod/, the musician is not accused of 'infringe- 
ment'. Even if one repeats in totality S.G. Kittappa songs, he is not guilty of piracy 
or infringement since no vested right is interfered with. Even the so-called 
invention of ragas is nothing but bringing to light the inherent permutations and 
combinations in the schemes of Venkatamakhin or Govindachariar, Though 
Indian Copyrights are valid in countries which are members of the Bern 
Convention, the absence of basis for copyright in India does not enable exercise 
of any right elsewhere too. It is an admitted fact that raga rendition enjoys neither 
the absolute precision nor the fixed originality which writings, photographs, 
labels and specific compositions can lay claim to. As a claim to copyright fails, 
the element of property rights is simply nullius juris- unenforceable in law. 

The artistes leave the legal luminary in his 'charanam' and revert to their 
'pallavi' to lay stress again on the cited cases of the two musicians and insist 
that their present request could not be viewed differently. The Law Officer 
marshals his knowledge of traditions in music and avers that music programmes, 
programme content, values of appreciation and norms for patronage have 
undergone radical changes in the course of the present century, that decades 
back, concerts hovered around specifics like a pallavi or a particular raga, that 
specialisation in one or more of such specifics was then the prime asset of 
musicians and the expectation of the audience and that is the reason why we 
hear of Pallavi Sesha Ayyar, Pallavi Gopala Ayyar, etc., on the one hand and 
Todi Sitarama Ayyar, Begada Subramania Ayyar, etc. on the other. Sans their 
pallavi, the former might not have flourished and sans their specialisation in the 
individual ragas, the latter category might have forfeited their claim to glory. The 
position is different now and without the specific ragas now offered as security, 
the two vidwans could go through hundreds of concerts in India and abroad 
without any loss of prestige, position or popularity. Thus the specific assets which 
the earlier vidwans could create and hold have ceased to command similar 
relevance now. 


The Legal Expert further mentions that even in U.K., the earlier 'Musical 
(Summary Proceedings) Copyright Act 1920' has ceased to be in force but that 
the following definitions therein which extended copyright protection to 'sounds 
recorded which were original products of skill and labour' may have significant 
relevance to understand issues. 

'Sound recordings' is defined as 'the aggregate of sounds embodied in and 
capable of being reproduced by means of a record of any description, other than 
a sound track associated with a film 1 and 'Record' is defined as 'a disc, tape, 

For copyright, there should be precision and invariability with originality, 
which Indian raga rendition does not take credit for based as it is on spot 
improvisation. There were Dramatic and Musical Performances Protection Acts 
enacted from time to time in United Kingdom to protect what had been created. 
Even the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 would not cover musical 
works unless and until they are created. Rights could accrue on the creation 
and existence of something in this context but not before its advent or birth. 

CHAIRMAN: 'Could you put the structure of the legal position in brief? 1 

Law Officer: Yes Sir. Long back, musicians specialised either in ragam, 
tanam and pallavi or in select ragas they became famous for. In result, they 
were Invested' with the credit for the specialisation and in due course the credit 
came to be treated as a 'deemed asset'. While it was in truth an intellectual 
asset, it did not amount to 'property' in legal terms. Sans the specialisation, the 
musician had no market for his music. Thus in common parlance, the 'deemed' 
intellectual expertise came to be treated as 'property'. There was, of course, no 
means of enforcing a mortage in the event of non-redemption. ^ 

But now musicians are generalists owing to changes in concert patterns and 
public tastes. One could carry on for decades without redeeming the mortgaged 
raga. While Narasier or Sitarama Ayyar could not hope to flourish in the 
present day, our senior vidwans would have to specialise considerably if 
they were to give concerts in those conditions. Hence the 'mortgage of 
ragas' indulged in yester decades is not available to the distinguished vidwans 
before you/ 

CHAIRMAN: Thank you.' 

The Chairman feels relieved of his burden by the lucid exposition of his Law 
Officer and is, in fact, surprised at the vast compass and depth of his knowledge 
and smiles with relief as if bidding good-bye. The cruel alapana on the legality 
of property rights in raga rendition floors the musicians and their spirits dip to 
anumandara even as the lift carrying them touches the basement. 




'Music is the highest art and, to those who understand, is the highest 
worship', declared Swami Vivekananda. Purandara Dasa fully understood it; 
and had thoughtfully followed the 'Sthula Arundhati Nyaya* in taking the 
students of music step by step. The method is named after the venerable lady 
and not after her exalted spiritual spouse Vasishta ! A rare and rich tribute to 
Womanhood indeed ! Quite a large number of ragas are named after women. 
The presiding deities of Learning and Fortune are Goddesses. Vivekananda 
extols womanhood and in the same breath bemoans their lot thus: 

11 Thou are the Goddess of Fortune. Thou are the supreme Goddess... The goddess who 
resides in all beings as Power. ' The Gods are pleased where women are held in 
esteem ', says the old Manu. 

Why is it that our country is the weakest and the most backward of all countries ? 
Because Shakti is held in dishonour. Without the grace of Shakti nothing is to be 
accomplished... To me, Mother's grace is a hundred times more valuable than Father's... 
fie on him who has no devotion for the Mother.... If an Indian woman in Indian dress 
preaches the religion which fell from the lips of the Rishis of India, it will inundate the 
Western world. Will there be no women in the 'and of Maitreyi, Khana, Lilavati, Savitri 
and Ubhayabharati?" * 


How far and in what measure did Bharat respond to the call of the Swamiji? 
Confining the theme immediately to the realm of music, and more presently to 
Classical Carnatic music, it is seen that just a few musicians from the fair sector 
had lent grace and image to the ambrosial art allotted to women by the great 
tamil poet Sekkizhar when he says, Arambayar Sangita OIL It is relevant to 
make mention of some: 

Bangalore Nagarathinam Ammal: A devoted lady whose life, wealth and 
time were laid at the altar of classical music and who immortalised her life by 
taking the initiative to construct the Samadhi of Sri Tyagaraja. There were 
disciples galore but it was left to the eternal fame of this lady-musician to achieve 
it! (WdePartll.) 

Coimbatore Thayee: Though she did not enjoy a majestic (gambhira) voice, 
her tone and rendition were soothing and aesthetically satisfying. Her four-hour 

* Note : The contrast in approach of the Swamiji from India and of Samuel Johnson of the West is 
striking. Boswell told him that he had been that morning to a meeting of the Quakers, where 
he heard a woman preach. 

Johnson : " 'Sir, a woman preaching is like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well ; but 
you are surprised to find it done at all." 1 (Boswell) 


concerts would start with four kalais and with pallavi would come two kalais and 
there would be a happy blend of javalis, tamil songs, etc. Kivalur Ramachandra 
Ayyar and Veenai Dhanammal were among her gurus. She had given discs. 
Enjoyed an extensive repertoire. Tiruvotriyur Tyagayyar was her patron, 

Tiruvidaimarudur Bhavani: That she took to music at the advanced age of 
twenty^five did not deter her climbing the peak. High- pitched voice, fast-moving 
rendition, bewildering birkas and 'a/raram' marked her concerts covering kritis 
in different languages and tillana. Enjoyed a ringing voice. Srivanjiam Ganapati 
Ayyar was her guru. 

Enadi Sisters: Lakshminarayani and Rangiammal: Disciples of Patnam 
Subramania Ayyar, they were speed merchants in melody and a popular duo. 

Dhanakoti Sisters: Dhartakoti Animal and Kamakshi Ammal: They 
belonged to the Syama Sastri disciple-line. Kamakshi Ammal was Kanchipuram 
Naina Pillai's mother and in a way T. Mukta's guru. The sisters had powerful, 
resonant voice and their concerts were gripping and popular. Puducheri 
Rangaswami Ayyar gave them advanced training in the intricacies and nuances 
of rendition at concerts, They were adepts in pallavi rendition - a rare feat for 
musicians of the fair sex. They enjoyed an immense repertoire. (Vide page 49 
of A Garland.) 

Madras Peria Pappammal and Radha Ammal: They were daughters of 
Salem Meenakshi and were giving concerts in numbers. 

Tiruvarur Rajayee: The chosen child of Melody, Rajayee was a child 
prodigy. A melody queen, she was the delight of the cognoscenti and the lay. 
She came, conquered and disappeared when she was just five and twenty. 
(Vide Part II.) 

Bangalore Thayee: She was a musician of chaste techniques and 
aesthetics. 'I listened to a recital by her in 1923, She began with Veena 
Kuppier'stanavarnain Begada. I was quite familiar with it. But the lady's version 
was a revelation. It was brilliant and arresting. It brought instant tears to my 
eyes.'(R.R. Ayyangar) 

Mudicondan Venkatararna Ayyar, T. Sankaran and 'Dhanyan' give absorbing 
account of these lady-artistes. Besides these, there were Tiruvidaimarudur 
Pankajam, Veenai Dhanammal, Dhanam Sisters, Tirunelveli Rangamma and 
Shanmughavadivu. Veenai Dhanammal was a colossus; Shanmugavadivu was 
popular and K.B, Sundarambal was a star in dramas and had not taken to 
concerts yet then. 

Classical music was not the monopoly of concert musicians alone since it 
reigned supreme on dramatic stages too. Ladies had not taken to the stage in 
those distant decades in numbers and feminine roles too were the monopoly of 


male actors only. This author himself has taken the role of heroine. If women's 
contribution to Classical Carnatic music was meagre from vocalists and actors, 
it was not much different otherwise too. Though flute is one of the oldest 
instruments known to Indians, according to Flautist H. Ramachandra Sastri 'only 
in the twenties of this century did women like Valadi Rukmini and Mayavaram 
Silk Papa take to flute'. 

As regards percussion, it is said that long back, there was a woman during 
the Maratha rule. Says T. Sankaran; 

1 The first woman to play on mridangam I knew of was Tirugokarnarn Ranganayaki 
Ammal, daughter of Sivarama Nattuvanar. The earliest violinists I have heard of were 
M.S. Subbulakshmi's grandmother, and Kanchipuram Naina Pillars grandmother 
Visalakshi Ammal. Veena was an accepted ladies' instrument but in reality was 
dominated only by males. ' 

He too confirms that the first woman flautist was Valadi Rukmini. It is 
surprising to find that the foremost flautist of all times and the Prince of Sringara 
rasa had not chosen to impart training in flute-play even to his divine consorts 
Rukmini and Radha! The earliest to sing pallavi was Palani Anjugathammal, 
mother of Palani Subramania Pillai. The first woman musician who asserted her 
equality with men in the dexterous handling of laya and swara through pallavi is 
only Sangita Kalanidhi O.K. Pattammal. There was a musical joke on this in fact. 
The patron host enquired whether the lady-musician knew 'pallavi'. 
Promptly the artiste's mother cut in with obvious pride, 'why pallavi alone, 
she knows anupallavi and charanam too'. 

But it is seen that they were all closely attached to their native soil and dicf 
not cross the Carnatic frontiers. Melody has attracted in recent decades vast 
numbers of votaries from women and several of them have made their advent 
on foreign soil too. A few have caught the imagination of the West with their 
captivating melody like Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi, Dr.M.L Vasantakumari and 
Sangita Kalanidhi O.K. Pattammal. Dr. M.S. Subbulakshmi was easily India's 
first internationally known singer making her debut at all the Western great 
centres and she has endeared herself to thousands of music-lovers the world 
over. Dr. M.L Vasantakumari did likewise. Many others too have taken Carnatic 
music across the seas with merit. But the overall effort is spasmodic and the 
effect inadequate. The impact of their visits and the momentum created are yet 
to attain the measure of Inundation' or conquest as visualised by Vivekananda 
almost a century back. 


While the advent of performing women artistes is presently on the arohana, 
no such development is visible in the allied art of composition. In the past too, 
it was negligible confined to a few like Tallapakkam Thimmakka, Rangajamma, 


mistress of Rajah Vijaya Raghava Nayak (1 637-1 673) who wrote 'Mannaru Dasa 
Vilasarri, a yakshagana enacted in the court, Ramachandramba who wrote 
'Raghunathabhyudayam', Kuttikunju Thangacchi, D. Pattammal, Andavan 
Pichai and Ambujam Krishna justifying the dictum of Sir Thomas Beecham: 

1 There are no women composers; 
never have been and 
possibly never will be. ' 

Why is this barrenness and drought ? Indian womanhood was not incapable 
of attaining scholarship. Gargi -participated in the deliberations of Janaka's 
Council of the Learned. Maitreyi, wife of Sage Yajnavalkya was a philosopher. 
Sarasavani was the arbiter for the disputation between Adi Sankara and 
Mandanamisra. Avvaiyar's image is transcendental and contribution 
magnificent. But they figure as isolated planets in the otherwise starless sky. 


Tyagaraja and Muthuswami Dikshitar had each two spouses who lived in an 
Ocean of Melody, Composition and Scholarship. Had they not accepted the 
world as it came to them and adopted the glory and eminence of their Lords as 
their own presumably asserting their faith in the concept of Ardhanarishwaral 
The success of their spouses was theirs and they died gloriously and 
contentedly before, and figuratively on the lap of, their spouses. Did not King 
Janaka tell Rama, This is my daughter Sita who shall follow you like your own 
shadow and help you in your acts and shall consider you as her own self ' - 
"/yam Sita ..."? What a glorious sacrifice it was sans ego \ Self effacement in 
entirety !!. The good Samaritan S. Vedanayakam Pillai married five women one 
after another and what was their contribution? Nil. Pillai is eloquent in praising 
family women in his Kula Stri. They had all illumined his home and left name 
and fame to him. Nagaswara maestro T.N. Rajarathinam kept parity with him 
and married five; and from dawn to dusk, why whole nights even, they should 
have been suckled and lullabied to sleep with delightful melody from the magical 
instrument of Pillai. Perhaps the junior-most alone had touched the instrument, 
There was some consolation from the home of Kanchipuram Naina Pillai. While 
his first wife Kuttiyamma fell in line with the customary practice, the second, 
Kuppamma learnt music from Mannargudi Pakkiria Pillai and along with her 
sister Ramatilakam, a disciple of her husband, gave concerts. Odeon Company 
had recorded her music too. They were professionals. 

The homes of the stalwarts of Carnatic music had been flooded with the visits 
of the cultured cream of composers, performing artistes, musicologists and 
scholars, stay of scores of disciples learning under gurukulavasa and with 
demonstrations and discussions humming with intellectual activity of the noblest 


grade. If one avers, 'Woman, thy name is Music', not a whisper of protest shall 
be heard. It is a natural fact. If Sarabha Sastri couid recite without tuitions 
Vedas taught by a priest to his pupils on the pial of the opposite house In toto, 
how could women have remained free from claiming similar assimilated 
knowledge and expertise? If sons could claim and inherit musical legacy, why 
did not daughters, sisters and wives? Heritability of immovable property had 
been confined to males by deliberate intent but there was no such overt inhibition 
or bar extending to intellectual property viz., the different branches of music. No 
home was complete without women singing lullabies in excelsis and no marriage 
or function was complete without women singing ingenue (as unsophisticated 
persons) . What was then the inhibition that had prevented women flowering forth 
as top musicians and composers? 

'Men are nervous of remarkable women', said J.M, Barrier. Male chauvinism 
was the culprit that made it infra dignitatem for women to compete and master. 
This phenomenon is not peculiar to India as the following anecdote from Boswell 
should confirm. 

I At breakfast, Dr. Johnson received a letter which seemed to agitate him very much ; he 

II One of the most dreadful things that has happened in my time ... Mr. Thrale has lost his 
only son! . . . This is a total extinction to their family, as much as if they were sold into 

Upon my mentioning that Mr. Thrale had daughters, 
11 Daughters! ", said Johnson warmly, "he'll no more value his daughters than . . . " ' 

Unconscious self- interest and jealousy had dictated that women shall be 
kept away from a field where they were sure to excel; and, in result, art and 
science had lost possible weighty contributions of the most laudable nature from 
a moiety of the nation. O.K. Pattammal claims that music is the property and 
preserve of women. But it was not reflected in practice. The care and corpus of 
the alleged right stand unclaimed still . 

Women do exercise influence at homes and elsewhere. Even Vivekananda 
wrote so a century back - of course, from America: 

1 1 must first go and buy some clothing. 
That is what the ladies advise me to do ! ' 

Nobel Laureate Sir C.V. Raman as a budding scientist of nineteen, during 
his Presidency College days at Madras, fell in love with Lokasundari and married 
her as a bride of thirteen. In her theosophist brother's house, she sang and 
played on the veena 'Rama nee samana mevaru' (Kharaharapriya) . (Which 
Rama she had in mind is not clear!) Raman refused the dowry offered and proved 
that he was non pare/7 ! An accomplished veena player, she was a great force 


influencing his whole life but chose to remain as his shadow. 
(C.M. Ramachandra). Even in the home of that most enlightened Indian Scientist 
where there was copious love, the Indian lady had found her advent on this 
planet satisfying to see her Lord receive the coveted Nobel Prize and remain 
his alter ego with her veena. 

Convention, custom, injunctions of religion and the impact of classic 
examples from the epics had inculcated a deep sense of devotion in women to 
their spouses and homes and they took pride in playing the role of 
grihalakshmi(s) (Queens of the Homes) to shape the destinies of the male folk 
and children and share their homely joys and glories playing a secondary, 
supplementary and ancillary role in all non-domestic fields including music, Man 
exalted the melody of woman but had not thought it fit to invest her with a 
knowledge of theory and allow her to become and blossom into composers and 
concert-worthy musicians. It was assumed to be infra dig to the status of the 
family. If there was art in the icon and idol of goddesses in temples and caves, 
there was beauty and innate music in the goddesses at homes. The one in the 
temple and its replica at home were idolised but none had composed and few 
were allowed to sing in public! One contributory factor was that training and 
performance were essentially rural-based till the fifties of this century and 
women commanded only restricted facilities for travel and stay. The scope for 
musical advent in rural environment in yester decades was thus little. Religion 
conferred status on woman in enjoining on her presence at ceremonies. Custom 
glorified her status and image but that did not extend to males permitting or 
ladies taking to present concerts and composing!!! That resulted in a drought of 
lady-artistes and a complete famine of lady-composers. The sun, of course, 
peeped through the winter clouds occasionally only to be shadowed out and 
swallowed by denser clouds. It was all peep-bo (hiding and appearing)! Not 
Sambho, the all pervasive. 

The ruddy edge of the tropical sun at dawn would seem to prophesy an 
inundation of bright sunshine. In what measure and depth, only the Oracle could 
say. May we look forward to weighty contributions from woman-composers! 

" What have i done to keep in mind 
My debt to her and womankind? 

4 Men triumph over women still, 
Men trample women's rights at will, 
And Man's lust roves the world untamed. 

O grave, shut lest I be shamed. 

(C.LM. - John Masefield) 



Let Experts 

'What will the future of Classical Carnatic music be', is an oft-repeated issue. 
If the number of performing artistes and apprentices is the criterion, there is no 
need for any apprehension, But there is a persistent and visible fall in 
audience-attendance at concerts. There has been a marked shift in styles, 
concert-content and quality of specialisation. Musicology is said to be 
commanding fewer voteries while pallavi, ragamalika and such other specialised 
items have practically disappeared. There is a persistent feeling that standards 
have fallen and full-time nadopasakas among the up-coming generations are 
not many. It is, therefore, suggested that the issue be brought to focus in the 
context of international trends and views. The diverse trends in regard to music 
are briefly touched upon here. The ambit of this brief exercise is limited but it 
should enable and lead to an in-depth, comprehensive analysis. The most 
self-assuring view is that of T.S. Parthasarathy of the Music Academy, Madras; 

1 Indian music is on the march, sensitive to all the winds that blow in world music and 
responding to new influences. It represents the peak to which an Oriental System of 
Music, with melody as its base, could reach and yet be receptive to ideas and capable 
of growth. This priceless heritage of India deserves to be preserved for the uplift of the 
level of consciousness of its human society. ' 



What T.S. Parthasarathy has said would seem to be the cry of a robust heart, 
an ardent cry of desire, since many artistes allegedly pursue video meliora 
proboque, defer/bra sequor(\ see and approve the better course, but pursue the 
worse) ! Here is a general opinion of a very competent and sympathetic 

1 What does sadden me, however, is the way, in which, with unseemly haste, every tribe 
promptly abandons its own idiom, most people their characteristic music style and 
language to play admittedly great Western works.... thus destroying their ancient 
irreplaceable gift of improvisation... 'More than ever it is, therefore, important to maintain 
a very high level of creative, musical education. ' 

Yehudi Menuhin - ' Great Masterp of the Violin ' by Boris Schwartz, 

While Yehudi Menuhin bemoans the abject surrender to West, Paul Brunton 
draws attention with vehemence and sorrow to the multi-sided damage that is 
being caused : 


1 These artists, who are truly dedicated and occasionally truly inspired, will not be found 
in the contemporary mass movement of those who mistake their bizarre subconscious 
nonsense... Let these new art forms take their place for those who are attuned to them: 
let these forms coexist with the older ones. But let not the Good, the True and the 
Beautiful in the past be thrown aside and trampled on by intolerant innovation... Much 
Modem Art and poetry, music and literature is derived from sources that have nothing 
to do with genuine art. Neuroses, psychoses, imbalances and decadence itself are often 
its roots. ' 

Having given expression to his findings, fears and fulminatsons with 
conviction and clarity, eloquence and emphasis, Paul Brunton underscores the 
secret and significance of true art : 

1 What is the final cal! of true art ? Not to the work which expresses it but to the spirit 
which inspires it, the divine source of which it reminds us... The classical arts of several 
oriental countries served a double purpose for their better practitioners. They were 
professional means of earning a living and also part of a spiritual path. ' 


While Yehudi Menuhin regrets the loss of soul (and he has been a true 
admirer of Indian classicism), Paul Brunton refers to modernism, neo-classicism 
and the resuJtant promiscuity. The French Musicologist and Philosopher, 
Prof. Alain Daniclou lays bare the general trend stating : 

' The present promiscuity in culture tends to create hybrid low standard by-products. We 
have today a sort of universal pie-music, universal pie-painting, universal 
pie-architecture.., these belong to no culture. ' 

The loss of link and continuity with the basic culture and hybridisation 
demoralise, demolish and destroy oriental arts much more imminently because 
of the abject surrender to the onslaught of Western or other influences. A 
nebulous situation arises with Western, pseudo-modern, neo-classical systems 
vying with each other and in the effort destroying the spirit and soul of the 
ancient art. Prof. Dragotin Cretro of Yugoslavia dissects the underlying 
contradictions and hidden dangers thus ; 

1 The connection between music and religion in Indian Culture differs from that in 

the West. In India, secular music too was closely connected with religion and even 
nowadays the religious element is there. Since India and the West have developed two 
different social systems and two different cultures, their music too is of necessity 
different... Any adjustment in the sense of mutual equation between the two types of 
music is actually undesirable and might even be harmful. The problem of 
hybridisation does not exist in Western music, or at least not in the same sense as 
it does in the threatened non-Western types of music. This is a further reason why India 
should do all she can to preserve such a priceless heritage as her old classical music/ 

Cretro draws pointed attention to the fact that it would be the Indian art which 
would commit hara-kiri. Self-reverence,. self-control and self-respect should 


dictate that the weil-meaning advice is not ignored in the interest of the hearth 
and future of Indian music, the oldest of musical systems still vibrant. 

1 Let many a flower bloom ', ' Difference is the sine qua non of the times ', 
1 End stagnation, introduce variations ' and such slogans are easily circulated 
as a mark of progressiveness, which is in danger of drifting into adventurism. 
Differences - What do they signify and connote? Yehudi Menuhin too said so but 
what he means is different and it is to insure the health of Indian music as will 
be seen from his clear elucidation : 

' We Sove each other not only for what we have In common but for the differences between 
us also... The very basic between man and woman depends on this difference., so it is 
with all differences... We must concentrate on the importance of the differences between 
us. They bring us colour; they bring us variety... It is important for India to preserve the 
variety... One listens to Western music for entertainment. The Indian approach is one 
of depth and continuity in time. In listening to and understanding music, there are two 
basic approaches - one of intellectual analysis and the other of empathetic or 
sympathetic transference of our perceiving personality into the other sphere.' 

(Emphasis supplied) 

The difference is supplied by Carnatic v. Hindustani, by the subtle variations 
in voice, tempo, style, improvisation, varieties of compositions, ragas, talas, etc. 
In the name of importing, introducing differences, the structural basis ought not 
to be undermined and demolished. Pie-music (kichadi or avial type^ which 
harangues and inflicts itself on the audience may provide momentary thrill to 
some but the ever-lasting benefit, cultural elevation and legacy will be sacrificed. 
Differences constitute the soul and essence of Indian music but they have to be 
within the portals of the system. Ludwig Pesch who had done much to study this 
during his training at Kalakshetra says : 

' Music always transcends national, verbal, mental and philosophical limitations which 
account for its universal appeal beyond cultures... (But) comparison requires common 
features or parameters of which few are shared between Classical Carnatic music and 
genuine Classical Western music.' 

What Peggy Glanville-Rics, an avant-garde composer, says is highly relevent: 

1 1 threw out harmony... I began to realise that ! had developed a musical organism very 
similar to the patterns of antiquity; a melody rhythm structure, a variable model raga and 
a multi-coloured rhythm element of greatly enhanced freedom. ' 


Transmitted orally through centuries, Indian music is, in essence, (in spite 
of all notations, codification and patterning of styles of rendition) improvised, 
innovative, gamaka and ornamentation-based unlike the Western counterpart, 
which was also once partly oral and traditional as seen from what Douglas 


H, Leedy of Oregon states : 

1 It is known from various writers that good performers (of the West) added extempore 
embellishment to their vocal and instrumental line..,, even in earlier periods performer 
improvisation was an important, indeed indispensable, part of the musical style... any 
well trained sixteenth century musician would improvise on the spot. ' 

Can a pianist of today vary the ornamentation of Beethoven sonata movement 
from that which is printed? 

' The idea! answer must be "Yes"; but the practical answer seems to be "No 1 ", 

affirms Leedy. Notation has dried up the springs and driven out the seeds of 

The cause for the basic exclusiveness and differences is mentioned by 
H.I. Koeilr Cutter very succinctly thus : 

Two fundamentally differing sets of human genii and attributes of consciousness created 
two different musical traditions as complementary factors. We must learn to understand 
the world as a whole. ' 

There is a conscious effort towards this in the West. Says Narayana Menon: 

1 Many young composers in Europe and America are being attracted by the music of 
India. The subtlety of our melodic line, the complexity of our rhythms, the spontaneity 
of our music-making were to them like a breath of fresh air. ' 

Vivekananda too said so about Indian philosophy and spiritual endeavour a 
century back. While the 'balance of trade 1 in the export of Indian Classicism and 
import of everything else is not favourable to the Indian system, it should be 
mentioned that classical musicians continue to spread the art of India. For 
instance Ustad Ali Akbar Khan says ; 

1 Indian music is like a river that has come down to us through time bringing nurture to 
man's soul... I started classes at California and Europe. I have had six thousand students 
across the world... My attitude and methods create an ashram-like atmosphere; there 
is a thread ceremony for initiating a newcomer into disciplehood... ' 

No wonder Khan has been given a grant of Rupees ten crores for his efforts 
(Vide Part III). With all the homilies, a sincere admirer of the Indian Classical 
music may be inspired by the sincere and honest assertiveness of Amir 
Khushrau seven centuries back: 

* The musical system originated in India. And Indian music, the fire that burns heart 
and soul, is superior to the music of any other country. Foreigners, even after a 
stay of thirty or forty years in India, cannot play a single Indian tune correctly. ' 

-In 'NuhSiphi* 


This opinion is shared by many authorities. But apart from the truncated 
courses of Universities and other institutions, correspondence courses and 
classes on phone too flourish ! The Spirit of Indian music is caged in cassettes, 
notations, phone and other commercial auxiliaries. Should Yehudi Menuhin 
have to warn again that India is abandoning its own idiom, its own irreplaceable 
gift of improvisation and its high level of creative music? 

Prof. S.R. Janakiraman on perusing the above has this observation to 
make : 

1 A rare privilege and intellectual pleasure providing at the same time food for thought It 
would certainly enable anyone to get a glimpse of the highly elevated mental plane of 
a good many sane thinkers on the subject spread throughout the world of music. A 
few sayings or statements are worthy of being engraved on metal lest they should 
perish by the frolic of time such as : 

11 What does sadden me, however, is the way in which with unseemly haste every tribe 
promptly abandons its own idiom... destroying their ancient irreplaceable gift... important 
to maintain a very high level of creative musical education." -Yehudi Menuhin. 

The counter of Paul Brunton subscribed to the above thought too deserves mention as 
one from a judicious thinker. But there too Brunton does not fail to observe, "... let not 
the Good, the True and the Beautiful in the past be thrown aside and trampled on by 
intolerant innovation". Differences are the essence of Indian music but they have to be 
within the portals of the system. Ludwig Pesch gives expression to a great truth when 
he says, " Music always transcends national, verbal, mental and philosophical limitations 
which account for the universal appeal beyond cultures ". Peggy Glanviile's quotation 
should not be missed by any inquiring mind engaged in a comparative appreciation of 
the subtleties of harmony and melody. ' 

I have placed before the discerning public the opinions of reputed 
authorities. Trends have no chartered course. Amidst the bewildering, 
aggressive pulls and counter-pulls, classicism is but a hapless leaf caught in the 
whirlpools of gushing waters in a river running down a steep gradient during a 
cyclone. None has any control over its destiny. Vempatti Chinna Satyam, the 
celebrated dancer, is reported to have expressed the view that classical arts are 
like water in a temple tank which needs continuous inflow of fresh water to serve 
its purpose. There ought to be no rigidity for tradition's sake. There is need for 
replenishment and revitalisation - an evolutionary process - to provide fresh 
vigour. But whether it needs to be regulated inflows into the Classical Reservoir 
or unregulated and uncontrolled flood waters which may even breach its bunds 
and empty the Reservoir of its classical waters is the issue. It offers no simple 
solution and is a rich field for intensive thought and research by reputed scholars, 
sober musicians and acknowledged musicologists. Result-oriented, effective 
action is certainly a crying need. 



The Arch Destroyer 

Far from our madding crowds, Swami Vivekananda wrote from Chicago on 
January 29, 1 894; / 

"Three things are necessary to make every man great, every nation great: 

i. Conviction of the powers of goodness: 
il. Absence of jealousy and suspicion: and 
Hi. Helping all who are trying to be and do good. 

Why should the Hindu nation with all its wonderful intelligence have gone to pieces ? 
I would answer you, 


Never were there people more wretchedly jealous of one another, more envious of one 
another's fame and name.. , Three men cannot act in concert together for five minutes. .. 
When will they learn not to be jealous !" 

In subsequent letters, he regrets that jealousy is the bane of our national 
character and on March 19, 1894 confesses: 

1 We can get rid of everything, but not of that cursed jealousy.. That is a national sin with 
us... burning -at heart at the greatness of others. "Mine alone is the greatness, none else 
should rise to it. " 


That national sin not only pervades, but is more pronounced and intense in 

the world of artistes where merit and status are judged on varied factors of which 

glamour and the assertive character of ' Mine alone is the greatness ' are not 

the least. It costs little; and it nurtures itself. The most favourite pastime is to 

nurse jealousy at other artistes' expertise, wisdom, voice, merit, status and, 

above all, luck. We have seen in { A Garlancf how the Father of Tamil Music 

Renaissance, Gopala Krishna Bharati suffered from the taunts and canards of 

the jealous and how Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, the violin maestro had to 

face canards mothered by jealousy. The good samaritan-composer, 

S. Vedanayakam Pillai lost his job of translator in Tiruchirapalli Court having 

been falsely charged with loss of records secreted by colleagues in a box. 

Prof. P, Sambamurti mentions that when young Syama Sastri of the Trinity 

recited mantras musically in appropriate ragas at Sri Kamakshi Devi temple, 

Tanjore, a pleased devotee presented him with a costly shawl. A highly-elated 

Sastri ran to his first guru- uncle and prostrated before him paying obeisance. 

Jealousy touched the uncle to the quick. He flared up, tore Sastri 's notes on 

musical lessons and threw them away, Of course, Sastri rose to the peak. History 


chose to tear off the pages relating to the jealous uncle. K. V. Srinivasa Ayyangar 
(Tiger's brother) says that the main profession of many musicians is to find fault 
in others. A devout Dasi composed lullaby songs on Ramanuja who had Initiated' 
her and was singing them melodiously. Govinda (later Acharyar Embar) who was 
passing by felt attracted and stood in the street enchanted by and absorbed in 
the music and the song - the Visishtadvaitin turning literally into an Advaitin for 
a moment, his heart and soul merging with soulful music. Even before he could 
reach Ramanuja, the tale that he spent much time in front of the Dasi's house 
had reached the master Ramanuja ! That is the world ! 

Note : That is the world! Yes. Here is an account of the great Oliver Goldsmith. 'The jealousy and 
envy, which, though possessed of many most amiable qualities, he frankly avowed, broke 
out violently... "We must be angry that a man has such a superabundance of an odious 
quality, that he cannot keep it within his own breast, but it boils over", stated Samuel 
Johnson adding that one should be angry with such a man ! - Boswell. 


Musical titans were able to marshal and bring to practice scriptural 
injunctions. Has not the Lord (Sri Krishna) restricted revelation of the greatest 
secret, the most profound knowledge to free oneself from the sorrows of life only 
to those who do not cavil or carp ? (Chapter IX- 1 of Gita). Does He not call 
Arjuna Anasuya ? 


Asuya comprises belittling the merits of others, finding fault with their virtues, 
reviling them and attributing false blame to them. He who is entirely free of asuya 
is anasuya. In Chapter XVIII-67, the Lord lays down the rule that the secret 
gospel of the Gita should never be imparted to one who cavils or finds fault with 
HIM (Abhyasuyathi). 

Atrismriti 34 states : 

1 He who does not distract from the merits of those possessing merits, praises even those 
of scanty worth and does not take delight in the faults of others is said to possess the 
virtues of Anasuya. ' 

(Na gunan gunino hanti sthouti mandagunanapi 
Nanyadosheshu ramate sanasuya prakirtitah.) 

Jealousy germinates slander. Some ignore it like Ben Johnson, who said: 

' Thy praise or dispraise is to me alike; 
as one doth not stroke me, nor the other strike. 1 


, And a century back, Swami Vivekananda warned Kali: 

1 Take not even the slightest notice of what puerile creatures say against you. 
Indifference indifference, indifference, 
Keep up the deepest mental poise.' 

Stoicism befits the great and the yogi who could say that sticks and stones 
might break his bones but words would never hurt him. But what of the iesser 
mortals? Jealousy is said to be second nature to many an artiste. There is cure 
for illness but perhaps none for jealousy. Spiritual dedication to truth in thought, 
speech and deed is the only step. 

1 Let us wipe off first that mark which Nature always puts on the forehead of a slave - the 
stain of jealousy. Be ready to lend a hand to every worker of good. Send a good thought 
for every being in the three worlds !' 

Swami Vivekananda gave to the members of Alambazar Math ' Ten 
Commandments on Management ' of which one stipulates: 

' Tale-bearing, caballing, or reporting scandals about others 
should be altogether eschewed.' 

Gossips and factions, jealousies and heart-burning continue to haunt and 
tarnish lives of musicians. They have more than one association. Opportunities 
are reportedly cornered by an oligarchy in the fraternity. Genuine love and 
dedication to good causes rarely assert themselves before demoralisation 
becomes chronic unless the 'haves 1 give the lead. 

Jealousy is at once intriguing and enchanting. It is self-nourishing and makes 
no demands. It accepts no defeat and failure only fuels. Rare virtues! Bidaram 
Krishnappa, who was forging ahead day by day, became the victim of 
treacherous practices resorted to by the jealous. They did not hesitate even to 
poison him ! Promising his mother Saraswati Bai never to eat or drink outside 
his house, he did not accept even a glass of milk. Jealousy and suspicion 
touched its peak soon. Vasudevacharya recounts the incident of Krishnappa 
offering a glass of milk to him in that vitiated atmosphere : 

" 1 am not feeling hungry, ' 

1 Well Acharya, I can quite imagine the doubt at the back of your mind. I shall take half of 
it first Ten minutes later, if you are convinced of my integrity, you writ drink it, 1 suppose. 1 

Both of us were in tears. 

1 Acharya, Do not trust the tale-carriers, if you can possibly tear open my heart, you may 
find out what regard 1 have for you ! ' 

After that no misunderstanding was possible. Our hearts beat as one." 


Jealousy, mother of crimes, had vitiated the atmosphere so much that the 
above incident had strangely occurred actually following a friendly dispute 
between Vina Seshanna and Bidaram Krishnappa as to who should garland 
Acharya and in the end the senior and guru Seshanna garlanded first and 
Krishnappa garlanded next! This provides a contrast in overt and covert feelings 
and dealings engineered by jealousy and suspicion. 

A contrast can be gleaned from an old letter of M.B. Srinivasan to Veena 
Maestro Balachander (in the album of the latter): 

" I was thrilled to read your letter, doubly because an 'angel of music' has come forward 
to give the 'devil' its due. It is very rare for even an ordinary musician to recognise talent 
in another musician. Such an outburst of appreciation from you only proves that you are 
not only a great musician but you have also a very broad heart and you are a genuine 
human being. " 



It does where love transcends base emotions. Magnificent art can annihilate 
germs of jealousy even in an enemy, Semmangudi Narayanaswami Ayyar and 
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar were not on talking terms. Narayanaswami 
Ayyar was at the concert of the latter at Tiruvaiyaru. It was exhilarating music. 
Overcome by emotion and forgetting personal estrangement, Narayanaswami 
walked to the vocalist and shedding tears embraced him and said, 

1 What great music. Your Todl was a veritable Mohanastram (Cupid's arrow)! 
How you sang and how delightfully S! ' 

Narayanaswami Ayyar walked back wiping his tears of exultation to resume 
and to be again an enemy ! (Source: Semmangudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar) . He was 
a true artiste and his capacious heart accepted Art enforcing a truce for the 
duration of the concert; Art reigned supreme. 

The historic contest at Trivandrum in the presence of Maharajah Ayilyam 
Tirunal went to three sessions; the Maharajah ultimately honoured both the 
contestants, Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar and Trivandrum Raghava Ayyar (vide 
page LIX of A Garland). Contest over, the senior Trivandrum maestro not only 
praised young Vaidyanatha and said, 'Who can sing like you ?' but expressed 
his desire to. assimilate some of his brika styles in raga Bhairavi I True Art can 
banish base emotions and even ego! 

Not only that. Maharajah Ayilyam Tirunal laid aside royal prestige and status 
and sang before Vaidyanatha to secure his approbation; and expressed his 
admiration and respect to young Maha saying - 


'If I am reborn, I wish to be reborn with you as brother'. 

Here Art reigned and Royalty allowed itself to be ruled ! What a refinement in 
humility engendered by Art! He did not say, 1 wish to be reborn like you* but 
yields primacy to the artiste !! 

* Earth has not anything to show more ennobling; 
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by 
Incidents so touching in their majesty. ' 

After William Wordsworth. 

Poet Gray comes to mind for his epigram The path of glory leads but to the 
grave'. Once, jealousy had hijacked a musician to the glory and throne too! 
Vembattur Picchu Ayyar was a delight as a musician and his knowledge of tamil 
was profound. Bhaskara Sethupati, Rajah of Ramnad admired and patronised 
him. Naturally jealousy has a just cause to play mischief, On an important 
occasion, when all the chairs in the Court were occupied, one of the jealous sent 
word to Picchu Ayyar. Promptly he arrived, saw his own seat occupied, surveyed 
the situation in a split second, walked up and sat with the Rajah on the broad 
royal seat ! To the stunned courtiers, he announced: 

1 1 was called; my seat too had been occupied when I came. I concluded 
that the Rajah should have called me only to share his august seat. ' 

A smiling Sethupati declared: 

1 Till now, only the Maharajah knew what you are; 
now the Arasaravai (Court) also knows what you are! ' 

Source: Eilarvi. 

* * 

T.S. Parthasarathy, the eminent musicologist, perusing the above, has 
minuted : 

* Many eyebrows may be raised at this chapter but there is no gainsaying the fact 
that mutual envy among musicians pollutes the atmosphere. Rajagopalan has 
recounted a few incidents in which musicians got reconciled after an initial 
display of jealousy. Professional jealousy has gone to the extent of a father cutting 
off the thumb of his son who excelled him in veena play (vide page 401, A Garland). 
There is more bonhomie of sorts these days among musicians but there is stiil 
room for their pondering over Rajagopalan's comments on the problem of 
"jealousy 1 *. ' 



3 hfadopasanaya D'eva Brahma Vishnu I 

Bhavantyupasita minan yesmadefiTtadatmak'ah II 

(Devoted practice of music, worshipping Nada (Absolute Sound) as the 
Parabrahman is indeed tantamount to worshipping the supreme deities Brahma, 
Vi$hnu and Maheswara, since they are the very embodiment of Nada.) 

Sangita Ratnakara (JMAM). 

T-zhisaiyai, Isaippayariai, Innamudhai, Ennudaiya Thidzhariai* . 

(St. Sundarar describes God as the Swaroopa of the Seven Swaras and as the 
benefit of music...) Saint Ramalinga Swamigal affirms the same seeing in music 
the acme of Divine Presence. 

Swami Dayananda Saraswati* recalled the same on April 1, 1991 at the 
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Trust function at Madras thus: 

1 Elegant manodharma brings out the sou! of music at concerts. Solemn tranquility reigns. 
The enraptured audience loses its individual and collective instincts and identities. 
Ego-centric thoughts disappear. Sparingly, an involuntary 'aha' or an 'oho* is whispered. 
More often, the collective will of the audience lacks the energy to muster strength even 
to air its appreciation. Drenched in captivating melody, the audience stays hypnotised, 
drowned in the ocean of classical music surrendering heart and soul so deep that it 
manages to mutter just a tsou', 'tsou 1 , Heart-beats synchronise with the tala. Minds 
strike total rapport with bhava and rasa and there is total identity and integration of minds, 
hearts and souls. 

That spell marks the universal identity of the audience with 'Nada'; it is 'Nadopasana* in 
essence. It is transcendental bliss - losing oneself and getting dissolved in chaste, 
divine music. It is Nada loludai Brahmananda'(Kalyana Vasantam). That is the over- 
whelming message of classical music pure and simple which neither neo-classical nor 
light music can hope to bestow. ' 

To those who desire corroboration or confirmation from Western authorities, 
of this Advaitic 'A/adopasana' as means to attain Transcendental Bliss or see 
Divine Light, here they are as inscribed by Paul Brunton: 

' Who can respond to the genius of Bach's Saint Mathew Passion 
unless some awakening of spirituality is in him ? ' 

1 Bach - the final chorus from St. Mathew Passion, 
Beethoven's last piano trio ( Archduke), and 

Note: * A word abojsit the Swamiji's golden heart. His laughter is contagious. It should seem he had 
been in a Kumour for jocularity and merriment; and upon such occasions I never knew a man 
laugh more remarkable in any circumstance in his manner.' - (Boswell) 


The slow movement from Mozart's G. Major Viol in Concerto, K.21 6 - 
, These three are spiritually inspired musical works. ' 

' Walter Allen says he got, at the age of fifty, the mystic experience of 
timelessness, saw the Divine Light in Vision and felt one with God 
while listening rapt in Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. ' 

Brahms himself said, 

1 When I reach my best level during the task of composition, 
I feel a higher power working through me. 1 

Paul-Brunton provides his seal of finality when he declares: 

Handel's Messiah is as inspired a piece of music as any ever written. It is a 
communication from Heaven to earth, from the Gods to man, Handel sat for three days 
motionless. Then out of this physical and inner stillness there came to him the 
tremendously inspired, triumphantly majestic strains of the Messiah.' 

These firm indications should set at rest vacillating souls in believing that of 
all arts, 'music is not only the loftiest and that its mysterious power speaks a 
language which is universally acknowledged, but it is motivated to express 
glimpses which Shelly called - 


Visitations of Divinity? Here is a specimen proof. Ludwig Van Beethoven 
(1770 - 1827) told a violinist who complained that a passage of his was 

' When I composed that, I was conscious of being inspired by God Almighty. 
Do you think I can consider your puny little fiddle when He speaks to me ? ' 


The above leads to the issue whether such music is normally made available 
and whether such compositions continue to fill the Reservoir of Lofty Melody. 
The answer is generally believed to be 'No 1 . Robin Daniels wrote in his 
Conversations with Neville Cardus': 

'Music, the rich man's pleasure and the poor man's food 
must be related to the smells and the tastes of life 1 . 

Musicians point to the ordinary man's level of participation and appreciation; 
and this 'ordinary man 1 would seem to be at the receiving end not only for 
politicians but for musicians too! The smells and the tastes' would seem to be 
deteriorating and demoralising progressively. It is the common view that 
present-day compositions are poor in conception, content, message and musical 
appeal. Neville Cardus said: 


1 The strange thing is that it is the oldest music which sounds the youngest today 

You know the air is fresh very early in the morning. When there is dew on the grass and 
everything smells new and clean. The oldest music is like that. ' 

Martin Pacey has very poor opinion of the present and says; 

' The emotional and spiritual aridity, the absence of vitality and warmth 
is the worst aspect of contemporary compositions. ' 

Of course, it may be the condition in the West. Let Lata Mangeshkar speak 
for Indian conditions in this sphere; 

'Believe me when I say that there is no demand from the audience abroad for me to sing 
any of the present-day tunes. I enjoy sieging yester year composers. And my enjoyment 
is doubled when I divine that this is what my audience too want... Today's composers 
concentrate on anything but their work... (they) fail to create tunes really worthwhile.' 

The position is not different either in the sphere of Carnatic music. 

1 The quest for depth is just not there. Superfluous entertainment is today's menu. It 
is a pity that instead of delving deeper, we are concentrating on the frills which are 
evanescent and offer nothing more than a short-lived thrill. ' 

This is the view of top violinist M.S. Gopalakrishnan who hails from a musical 
family and who has a rich experience of Indian and Western conditions. The cry 
and need of the hour then is obviously to reorient our conceptions, attitudes, 
aspirations and programmes to restore Wacfopasana' to its pristine glory and 
resuscitate our rich legacy and giory by actively involving the 'ordinary man 1 in 
cities and villages as classical music has fast been withdrawing itself into an 
oligarchic shell which indeed is a curse! 


There is an 'Indian Federation Against Software Theft" (INFAST) to combat piracy. 
Tiger Varadachariar used to cut jokes that Vasudevacharya and M,D. Ramanathan had 
stolen his talents and knowledge. Madurai Mani Ayyar's style is beautifully brought to 
focus by T.V. Sankaranarayanan. Likewise the styles of G.N.B., etc. are projected by 
many. 'Touch Todi raga, there is an element of T.N. Rajarathinam's style; touch 
Nilambari, hah! there is the touch of S.G. Kittappa; Mukhari or Anandabhairavft 
Musiri's style is on the fringe. These are treated not as piracy but as merit, attainment 
and a gift! Art confers that liberty!! The Lord has sanctioned it: 

" Whatever a great man does, 
that other men also do' (imitate); 
Whatever he sets up as the standard, 
that the world follows." 




Historic contests between Classical Musicians of Eminence. 

Chapter X of 'A Garland provides an account of important contests and 
challenges in the annals of Carnatic music. Since such contests have a close 
and interesting bearing and revelation on men, matters and condit.ons in the 
past, a few more are brought to view here. 


Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar & Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar 

Maharajah Ayilyam Tirunal was not only a patron and connoisseur but was 
a musician of repute himself. In tune with the proverbial 'approval from the mouth 
of Sage Vasishta 1 , he wanted to have his musical attainments and talents 
screened by Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar during his visit. The Maharajah sang 
elaborating 'Usenf raga for forty-five minutes. Captivated by the brilliance and 
maturity of the rendition, Ayyar observed: 

'Thank God. He has made you a king. Were it not so, 
we might not have had an occasion to touch the drone' 

This cultured ruler wanted to enjoy a vocal-veena 'friendly' contest between 

Ayyar, famous for his vibrant gamaka-laden voice and his Court artiste Veena 

Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar, who enjoyed immense expertise by virtue of 

rigorous training. Expertise and mastery were a gift to Ayyar but an acquisition 

to Bhagavatar, famous for his 'origai' gamakas. His veena play resembled vocal 

rendition. The vocal-veena contest commenced very well. Taking up Todi raga, 

Ayyar flashed through and shot up from Mandhra sthayi Shadja to Atitara sthayi 

Shadja like a fired jet and called halt after a hurricane rendition. Bhagavatar 

lacked the fire of that tempo and the lure of the conjuring voice. His heart sank; 

and sank as only that of a senior, eminent, noble artiste was capable of. His 

reputation too was at stake. The understanding musician-ruler (even as saint 

Sambandar consoled Tiruneelakantar when the latter was not able to reproduce 

on yazh his vocal rendition) stepped in to soothe Bhagavatar's feelings saying 

that Ayyar's music was vocal and veena was not designed to play so fast by 

changing from mandra to panchama and then to sarani strings. Ayyar also 

comforted him saying that it was only 'an exhibition match' and that he had all 

respect for his mature rendition and knowledge. Bhagavatar came to his 

elements and played on. Was it the forerunner to modern jugalbandis? 



Peria Vaithi's Challenge 

Peria Vaithi and Chinna Vaithi were an acknowledged prominent duo when 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar appeared on the horizon and made his triumphal entry. 
The brothers hailed from Radhamangalam and were Court musicians at 
Sivaganga. Peria Vaithi once wenttoTravancoreto exhibit his musical expertise 
and solve his economic plight. As was the custom at Travancore for all artistes, 
he got accommodation and food adequately. As he could not get an audience, 
he lost his mental poise and started singing in 'Bhoopalam* at midnight in 
desperation to contain and annihilate mental agony and prepare to return home. 
The classical rendition of the dawn raga in the still hours of the midnight 
fascinated the musically-sensitive ears of Ayilyam Tirunal Maharajah. Enquiries 
revealed that as the artiste had become an addict to 'drinking', he was not 'listed' 
for audience. The ruler condoned the fault and heard him that day. Exhilarant 
music full of bhava cascaded from the emotionally aggrieved Peria Vaithi who 
enjoyed a resonant powerful voice which could negotiate 3 1 /2 octaves in three 
tempos. Dramatically he stopped and requested permission to take 'the drink 1 . 
The Ruler and the Court were stunned by the insulting indecorous behaviour.- 
The Ruler's benevolent heart, however, condoned it and permitted the 
unseemly act too! The artiste violated the sanctity of the Court and Royal 
presence but what followed was thrilling rendition - a quid pro quo, a 

Suddenly he stopped again and challenged all and everyone to sing like him. 
The ruler magnanimously persuaded him to resume. The interludes only helped 
to whip up the classical nerves and verves of Vaithi's music. And when it ended, 
the misbehaviour and atrocious acts were graciously forgotten. Ayilyam Tirunal 
not only exhibited his munificence in gifts but revealed his royal stoic 
magnanimity telling Vaithi that the palace gates were open to him again! 

( Source: VS, Gomatisankara Ayyar in 'Isaikalai Vallunarkal') 


Maha v. Venu 

Bobbili Kesavayya, Kundrakudi Krishna Ayyar and Venugopala Dasa Naidu 
belonged to a category of musicians who combined capability and fame with 
aggressive egocentricity. Venugopala Dasa assumed striking titles like 'Sura 
Veera, Veerasura, Kantamani' indicating arresting rendition and expertise in 
swara, raga, tanam and pallavi. The title 'Kantamani 1 was earned by passing a 
test at Sivaganga successfully. He kept an elaborate retinue, an arresting 
paraphernalia. Very popular and a crowd-puller, he travelled in a two 


horse-drawn phaeton. Admirers fuelled his craze for fame and animosity against 
excellence in others. Shatkalapidi Photo Masilamani and friends collected 
Rs.two thousand (a century and half ago; money-value is relevant) as stake and 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar was challenged. Venue was Fiddle Ramayya's house 
near Snuff Shanmugham's house at Madras. Venugopala had sharpened his 
specialisation in major ragas to knock out Ayyar. But Fiddle Venkoba Rao 
sensing it tactically forced Ayyar, by leading rendition, to take up 
'Narayanagoula*. Venugopala was floored and Photo Masilamani had to declare 
Ayyar victor. It is stated that Ayyar's brother, Ramaswami Sivan whispered to 
his brother in 'Pandava Basha } clear only to them both, thus: 

'Kapibhakshappis Kama apagesuthis 
YantHb ehayan ashahithp vandhatabhaayiha 
Konvasha vasha yanttio nooh ankisan 
Hitho Kisaimishoopaz 
Konvashavashathassahiru chipaz.' 

V.S, Gomatisankara Ayyar says that this meant : 

1 lake Adi Tala, anaghata eduppu. 
Sambho Siva Sankara Vibho, etc. ' 

The mutual admiration, respect and love between the Ayyar brothers are 
proverbial. Venu's carefully drawn up and elaborately arranged-for scheme 
crumbled and collapsed like a house of cards and the prize-presentation was 
made with Venu disappearing from the scene ! (Such absence is misconduct 
perhaps only in tennis ! Here is a parallel from sports, The legendary Indian 
wrestler Gama took on Stanislaus Zbyszko, the Polish reigning world champion 
on December 12, 1910. Gama looked ordinary in the presence of the tall, 
impressive Pole. Gama was dominant but two hours 40 minutes' play ended in 
a draw. At the appointed time on the next day, the Pole was nowhere to be 
seen. Gama was declared the Champion and the world learnt to acknowledge 
his invincibility. Later, on January 28, 1920, Gama prostrated Zbyszko in just 
21 seconds at Patiala!) 


Pallavi Subbiah Bhagavatar v. Tirumalai Ayyangar 

Subbiah Bhagavatar hailed from Vasudevanallur near Sankarankoil and had 
training under Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar for seven years. Very competent in 
giving concerts rich in neraval and an expert in pallavi rendition and swara, he 
was very popular and was supported by zamindars. Gomatisankara Ayyar is his 
son. Bhagavatar stopped giving concerts at the age of thirty-five and spent his 
time in training disciples. An expert laya vidwan, once he demonstrated before 
the Karaikudi Veena Brothers Sankarabharana elaborately for a hundred and 


fifty minutes with his '/ca/pa/ia' (improvised) taia comprising Eka taia in the first 
part with 16 matras, Jampai in the second with ten matras, Rupaka in the third 
with twelve and Chapu in the fourth with fourteen totalling fifty-two for an 
avartha. To the astounded Brothers, he stated that it could be called 'Brahma' 
taia. He enjoyed a ringing tone and a captivating style. 

Tirumalai Ayyangar of Anmarai Nadu near Srivilliputtur was a disciple of 
Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar. Had a mellifluous voice, was held in esteem and 
was very popular in the South for his eminence in raga, tana and pallavi 

People of the area developed a passion to see the two distinguished men of 
the area together in a concert displaying their skill in a 'friendly contest' and 
arranged for it. Tirumalai started with his composition 'Aazh Kadalin' in Todi with 
Misra Triputa taia. Bhagavatar wondered why he chose that taia as it might not 
be conducive to full- scale pallavi. The sahitya (text) also was word-intensive. 
However he responded. Tirunelveli Syamala Bhagavatar was on violin and 
Tirunelveli Gomati was on mridangam. The contest was continued on the second 
day. Bhagavatar started with Bhairavi Thvijam-Kanda Chappu Misra Chapu 
combination on sahitya 'Koodara Girilolan*. Tirumalai got confused in his 
rendition due to the devilrous combination of five and seven taia aksharas 
alternating. He regretted the indulgence he had taken on the first day and 
apologised to Bhagavatar for his avoidable innovations > 


Mysore Kuppiah v. The Jeafous Ensemble 

Mysore Kuppiah and Appaiah, ancestors of Seshannaand Subbanna, could 
not get admittance to the Tanjore Court and stooped to secure it. They enrolled 
themselves as pupils under Chinnavelu and Periavelu, Court musicians. After 
sometime, when the ruler saw them with the teachers and enquired, they 
revealed their identity and intent. The ruler retained them both with him. Four 
senior musicians, enraged at this, composed a varna in Ata taia each composing 
one avarta. Kuppiah got scent of it and got the varna secretly notated in full. 
Unaware of this, the quartette challenged Kuppiah Brothers when the ruler 
summoned a special durbar to honour Kuppiah. They pleaded that the Brothers 
were cheats and that their depth of learning should be tested. They played the 
varna thrice and pompously demanded of Kuppiah to play the same varna in 
trikala. Kuppiah took his vina, started with the trikala as the basic kala and played 
at treble that tempo too. He played on till midnight too. Mysore Vasudevacharya 
says that the ruler performed kanakabhisheka, presented him with a silver veena 
inlaid with pearls and granted Kabisthalam as Jagir! 


A brief war of wits with a swarakshara pallavi ensued. Overwhelmed .by the 
gesture of the ruler, Kuppiah composed instantaneously a paliavi in Mohana 
raga 'Paga icchara Sariga* meaning Is it right that the ruler should present a 
zari turban of honour?' The connoisseur-artist in the ruler countered it in soft 
notes, l Sada Paga icchane\ meaning that it was only an ordinary turban. The 
notes pa, ga, sa, ri, ga, sa, da, pa and ga are all brought in. (Swarakshara edhir 
pallavi is related in Mohanam Krishnier's life too, A Swarasthana Varnam of 
Muthuswami Dikshitar finds place in part III - E.) 


Rising sun saves the honour of court 

Sivaratri was celebrated with a music festival at the palace with the fasting 
Maharajah Krishnaraja Wodeyar presiding over it. Pallavi used to be the tool of 
contest. A senior visiting vidwan first sang a pallavi. The Court vidwans could 
not meet the challenge and their response was hesitant, The Maharajah gave 
expressssion to his anguish and pain stating that the competition had brought 
disgrace to Mysore instead of prestige, entertainment and enlightenment. 
Chikkarama rose up and said that his son Seshanna would give a proper 
response. The precocious boy gave a scintillating pallavi remarkably well and 
took everybody by surprise. 

Wodeyar took him on his lap and said, 'Guard this precious jewel. I am sure 
he will earn our State ever-lasting fame. But you should not have exposed him 
today like this 1 . To ward off evil-eye, Vasudevachar mentions that the ruler 
himself arranged for idugavy and presented him with a necklace and shawl. 
Seshanna rose to the top and was a powerful musician in the Mysore Court. 


The ruler's advice 'Guard this precious jewel 1 brings to mind an incident in 
Subramania Bharati's life. During his visit to Madras, Gandhiji was having a 
discussion with Rajaji and others. Bharati rushed in like a dart straight and 

'Mr. Gandhi, can you come up for a meeting?' 

A startled Gandhiji stared at Rajaji, politely declined on ground of want of 
time; and when Bharati had left, as brusquely as he entered, told Rajaji - 

Take care of this gem'. 

Quite strangely, the revolutionary gem of Ettayapuram lived for just 38 
years and the musical gem of princely Mysore for double that - 76 long 



Bidaram Krishnappa v. The Malignant 

Bidaram Krishnappa was riding at the crest of his glory. At Bangalore he was 
deservedly honoured. There was immediate jealous reaction and heart-burning. 
An assembly of vidwans and public was convened at Mysore which included a 
well-known South Indian musician according to Mysore Vasudevachar who f 
recounts the incident. Bidaram's guru Seshanna spoke: 

'Krishnappa, it appears that the people at Bangalore have proclaimed you a Mahavidwan. 
It is left only to vidwans like us to confer such a distinction. You are required to sing 
before us now in this distinguished assembly and earn the distinction.' 

The South-Indian vidwan (name not mentioned by Acharya) sang a six 
aksharakala pallavi he had practised for six long months and challenged 
Krishnappa to sing a few avartanas of nerava! and swaras. Burning with rage, 
Krishnappa told his guru, 

'Guruji, all that I have is due to your kind blessings. I shall obey your command and accept 
' the challenge, but on condition that immediately I do it, I shall frame a pallavi here and 
now and this vidwan should respond 1 . 

With that Damocles' sword of 'edhir pallavi ' promised, he went through the 
pallavi with merit and distinction and asked, 'Now, what about my challenge?' 

Seshanna embraced his disciple and said with emotion: 

'Krishnappa, really you are a Gana Kesari (Lion in Music ). I made you sing 
only to prove your worth to those who were talking behind your back'. 

This should have drawn the curtain on the challenge. Deep-rooted jealousy 
lacks capacity to wind up but fuels endless encounters. The jealous vidwan took 
advantage of the conferment of the title 'Gayakasikhamani 1 on Krishnappa 
sometime later by the Head of Tiruvidaimarudur Mutt and issued a notice of 
challenge from his address - No. 136, Mint Street, Madras under date June, 7 
1905 with copies to the Mysore Maharaja and the Mutt Head too. Promptly on 
June 12, 1905 Krishnappa replied to him that knowledge is immeasurable, that 
titles are not won after undergoing tests at vidwat sadas or sabhas, that Mysore 
people were at a loss to recognise the notice-giver even as a vidwan as he 
himself had been present at the concert at Tiruvidaimarudur and had not chosen 
to raise any objection then and that it was regrettable that he had not taken a 
lesson from the earlier encounter. Presumably, the jealous energy and fire had 
evaporated on receipt of the retort. There was no response. 



Friendly Challenges 


As a contrast, it is but proper and legitimate to record a few friendly 
challenges. There was a Sangita Sammelan at Tanjore. Narayanaswami 
Nayakar was a scholar, connoisseur and patron of musicians. There assembled 
at his house the cream of visiting musicians of the day like Maha Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar, Tirukkodikaval Krishna Ayyar, Veena Seshanna, Ghananrs Raghaviah, 
Sarabha Sastri and Srivilliputtur Muthiah Bhagavatar. Anxious to enjoy their 
competitive music, Nayakar displayed a diamond ring to be presented to the 
'best musician of the day'. Probably selecting the 'Man of the Match 5 in cricket 
derived inspiration from such episodes! 

Vaidyanatha Ayyar started the rendition and others followed. But who was 
to get the prize and who was to decide it? Nayakar left it to the vidwans as he 
did not desire to lose the feast by acting as a judge. Better to enjoy as a rasika 
than sweat as an actor! There were some tense moments of suspense. Finally 
Muthiah Bhagavatar stumped and foreclosed the issue declaring that the hero 
of the day was Seshanna. Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar seconded it. Seshanna 
accepted it modestly saying, 1 accept this as a blessing from elders'. The titans 
of Tamil Nadu elected the budding artiste from Karnataka! Art has no barriers!! 
Art integrates. 


Once the Maharajah of Travancore wanted to hear his palace vidwan Veena 
Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar and Vina Seshanna at one sitting. Bhagavatar 
played first for two hours and then Seshanna responded. As it happened at the 
contest of Maha Vaidyanatha - Haripad Raghava Ayyar contest, the ruler 
presented them with similar honours. But the learned Bhagavatar rose up and 

' May I confess that Sharada Devi has blessed Seshanna with all that is sweet in veena 
and she was left only with the remnant to b!ess me with ! I have never before heard such 
an exquisite performance and i doubt whether I would hear another such again.' 

Jealousy is a stranger at assemblages where nobility and pure devotion to 
art compete! Has not Bhagavatar crowned himself with glory by the noble 
sentiments he gave expression to? 



Sana's wife v. Eelam Belle 

Males have monopolised the listed contests so far. Here is one from the 
'Tiruvilayadal Puranani to 'fill up seats reserved for women'. Let this be a 
women's vent as such a contest does not appear to have been held elsewhere. 

The belle amie of Rajaraja Pandian of Madurai was burning (quite naturally) 
with a desire to put to disgrace Banabhadra f s wife, a scholarly poetess. Carried 
away by the coquetry of his lady (presumably a pretty woman-deaux yeux), 
Pandian requisitioned a competent lady-musician from Eelam, Sri Lanka. At the 
contest, Sana's wife excelled but the King's decision followed the nod of his 
lady-love. The loyal courtiers religiously nodded 'yes' to what the puppet Pandian 
said. The second contest went the way the first did. Sana's wife was aghast and 
challenged the ruler to hold the third and final contest at the temple. Once within 
the temple, native wisdom, spiritual freedom and severance from lust restored 
sanity. Once sanity had asserted itself, the decision rightly went in favour of 
Banabhadra's wife. Generosity dictated honouring both since Pandian was 
promoter and accomplice to the drama. 

The anecdote however reveals - 

i. Antiquity of musical contests; 

ii. Impartiality within the precincts of a holy place: 

(surely the courtiers should have continued to nod Yes, Your Majesty'); and 
iii. Distinction of women in music. 

In fact, on the first day, the Eelam artiste shoots many questions on 
musicology revealing the depth of her immense knowledge in theory too, (One 
should thank Pandian for not awarding the contest to the Eelam belle on the plea 
of having won two games to one !) 


Music Unites and Estranges too 

The last one is from a Purana. Now follows one from the fascinating tamil 
epic the marvellous Qilappadikaram of Illango, which is a mixed event where 
two lovers are caught up in the cobwebs or quagmire of unintended antagonism 
in trying to outplay each other. 

Venue: Poompuhar Sea-shore. Time : I ndra Festival. 

After taking part in the festival, Kovalan and his sweet-heart Madhavi, a 
damsel of bewitching, ravishing beauty and danseuse, repair to a shady place 
nearby. Madhavi takes the yazh, runs her nimble fingers on the kodu, the dandi, 


checks up the tone and looks up with her native coquetry to know her lover's 
pleasure and preference, Kovalan missing the hint takes over the yazh and with 
it the hidden hand of Fate and plays to 'please' her and incidentally to seal their 
separation. 'His tonic "Kura/"was the open note of the yazh. Madhavi mistakes 
the fifth "////" as the fundamental suggesting a discordant note ! Jealousy leads 
to ire and confrontation takes over control. She takes back the yazh with a shade 
of vilely smile but to hit back; and plays. 'Her voice followed the humming guts 
like the shadow that trails closely along as the eagle flies aloft. Her troubled mind 
decoyed her into an unmelodic scale.' Burning with intense jealousy and torn by 
baseless suspicion, for the first time Kovalan's mind travels far and dwells on 
his forelorn chaste wife whom he discarded and deserted unceremoniously at 
the very hour the wedding bells sounded. The finest epic proceeds with Kovalan, 
now in utter penury, leaving with his devout wife to Madurai to meet the Grecian 
tragic fate. The innocent man is falsely charged with theft and is given capital 
punishment AH because of music ! A head for a false note? 


Nannu Miya v. Pallavi Somu Ayyar 

The above incidents revolve around vocalists and instrumentalists. The 
series is brought to a close with the challenge of a percussionist extended to a 
pallavi supremo. Nannu Miya and Chotu Miya were Samasthanam artistes of 
the erstwhile Pudukottai State. Nannu was a gifted player on dolak and his 
'Pararf displays were fascinating. Spurred by his attainments, he challenged 
musicians to match his accompaniment and score over him. Some sulked; some 
sneaked away; some advised him that Pallavi Somu Ayyar was his peer. To 
establish his mettle, Nannu repaired to Talajnayar near Tiruthuraipoondi and 
hurled his challenge. Though taken unawares, the pallavi expert accepted it. He 
composed a special pallavi for the contest in raga Saveri thus: 

'Gin-rani palukuna Nandi mridangamaina. 1 

(It is not possible to produce the sound effect GRRR even 
if the mridangam used happens to be that of Nandikeswara.) 

Traversing a classic alapana, Ayyar commenced the pallavi exposition. The 
deliberate sarcastic sahitya (text) which gets repeated endlessly held out a 
psychological unnerving portent for the percussionist even as Maharaja Sallian's 
derisive, scathing comparisons with Arjuna had on the indomitable Kama on the 
battle field of Kurukshetra in Mahabharata. The GRRR sound could not be aptly 
brought out on dolak. Nannu licked the dust. (Pallavi is a challenge to 
percussionists even normally since the pallavi vidwan holds the commanding 
rein and dictates the trends and is rarely dictated to. When two discordant 

/M ilrl 


Differences did crop up at a concert and they never shared a dais thereafter. It 
was parting of the ways. Pallavi is now following the path taken by gurukulavasa 
and quite soon might qualify for an elegy!) 

Note: Dr, R. Kalaikovan writes that there is a very beautiful and rare sculpture of a music 
competition between a male artiste and a female artiste relating to the Sangam Age at 
the temple of Nalthunai Ishwarar in Ponsai village. The sculpture is of pre-Rajaraja Chola 
period. Vide notes under the chapter Tamil Isai'. 



The proverb runs, 

'Destiny leads the willing; 
but drags the unwilling/ 

The biographical notes on Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar, Mysore 
T. Chowdiah, Dr, U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar and others reveal how true the proverb is. 
Raja Ravi Varma, the prince among Indian artists, was a candidate for consort to the 
royal princess. Maharajah Ayilyam Tirunal, the enlightened Ruler of Travancore, 
rejected his case *as he was a shade too dark'. 

Raja Ravi Varma used to reminisce in later days how good the decision was and 
how destiny had helped him in that. He rose to be the uncrowned king in the field of 
art. He was not a 'Rajah* in the true sense but was called so from the beginning, how 
and why none knows! His drawing of Saraswati and Lakshmi revolutionised the 
innermost corners of India, in effect next only to those of Ramayana and Mahabharata. 
Had he painted Saraswati with a violin, imagine what would have been the effect! 


Govinda Dikshitar, Achyutappa Nayak and some others are well known for their 
administrative calibre and eminence in the field of music. Ajit Kumar Panja, Union 
Minister sang while inaugurating the Tiruvaiyaru Aradhana and Bangarappa, Karnataka 
Chief Minister sang at the Panchakshari Gandag. Jayalalitha, Tamil Nadu Chief 
Minister, an accomplished artiste, could have sung likewise with merit and acclaim 
while inaugurating the Festival of the Music Academy, Madras 1991-1992 but chose to 
give a scholarly speech pregnant with thoughts. Vide extracts elsewhere. 



'If gold could be found with fragrance, it is Tyagaraja, Kshetragna, Purandara 
Dasa and Jeyadeva', remarked the eminent scholar Dr.V. Raghavan. Tyagaraja 
immortalised Purandara in his Prahalada Bhakti Vijayam. Purandara stands 
'unapproached as the supreme leader of the science no less than the art of 
music'. Four centuries have passed and yet he remains the Sangita Pitamaha. 
None could unseat him from that pedestal. 

He has given expression in his 'Vasudeva Natnavalf to an achievement of 

'I shall briefly describe, by the grace of Vyasaraya, 
the Namavali of Vasudeva: 

Thus altogether four lakhs and seventy-five thousand kritis has 
Purandara Vithala Vyasa Muni caused to be sung.' 

He gives a break-up of the categories of songs leading to the total leaving twenty 
thousand to be accounted for probably as miscellaneous songs like a sincere, 
conscientious accountant This claim had been accepted all along and none had 
challenged it till a reviewer of my A Garland remarked thus: 

' The author's love of music and respect of musicians infuses the entire book. While this 
is unexceptionable and surely makes for interesting reading, it does mean that a legend 
is quoted without an attempt to look at its credibility. Purandaradasa is credited with 
composing 475000 songs... ' 

The issue raised is quite pertinent The critic obviously should disbelieve the 
Purandara claim as he calls it a legend. 


It was Uttiramerur; 1961 was the year. O.V. Alagesan brought a devout poet 
to the temple. The poet went on pouring out extempore compositions on God 
for hours and astoundingly repeated them too for a check up ( even as Tyagaraja 
did on his return from his pilgrimage to ensure authenticity). I was present ( at 
Uttiramemr, not Tiruvaiyaru). I was reminded of Mozart's words, 'My whole soul 
is on fire'. The poet and his ilk are on fire, inspired and in a trance not infrequently 
and this cannot be fully understood by mundane man. What is improbable to the 
ordinary is child's play to the inspired genius. 

Gavaskar, Hadlee, Bradman, Pele, Navratilova and Borg have shown 


achievements absolutely beyond the capacity and comprehension of the 
multitude. Sergei Bubka soars to 6.12 meters in pole vault effortlessly. The 
United States of America and Allies destroyed thousands of men in the short 
span of three days losing just a score of men themselves in the Gulf War. 
Hiroshima achieved what scores of earthquakes had not. Miracles do happen. 
Whatever Purandara uttered was music. Praise of the Lord was his singular 
occupation when he moved out of his home on his life - mission for four decades 
with his, devout wife and sons who played the role Vinayaka did for Vyasa on 
pilgrimage. The learned Justice T.L. Venkataramayyar writes: 

' Purandaradasa states ( the learned Judge does not use the word "claims") that he had 
composed 4.75 lakh songs. This by itself an astonishment, becomes all the gteater when 
the quality of the songs is examined ... simple language, homely sayings and proverbs... 1 


Can the author of a biographical dictionary indulge in the luxury of attempting 
to verify such an issue and do justice? Ramakrishna Paramahamsa remarked: 

' A salt doll went to the sea to measure its depth. 
The minute it plunged into the sea, it was dissolved.' 

'What is the use of asking how many palm trees are there or 

how much toddy is in the shop 

when one cannot take more than a cup?' 

When dozens of authorities had mentioned Dasa's claim all along without 
casting a shadow of doubt, could one in a biographical dictionary choose to cast 
doubts on the claim and take up original research? If this is taken, what about 
Tyagaraja's recitation of Ram Nam ninty-six crore times and Saint Tirugnana 
Sambandar singing 'Todudaiya Sevian' at the age of three? Ravi Kiran, 
Shashank and many others are credited with precocious talents; Can they all be 
challenged ? Can each such issue be put to strict screening in a dictionary or 
can they be thrown out as incredible., improbable and impossible? One would 
be guilty of over-simplification to say l y es> r 'no' or even to give an oracular 
finding. An old folly could be cited as an instance of such an approach: 

Advocate : 'Have you stopped beating your wife?' 
(Witness falters, flounders, objects and tries to clarify.) 
Advocate again: 'I don't want your stories. Say yes or no.' 

It is incorrigible to insist on so since both are shorn of truth but this is done. The 
book A Garland seeks to escape from this tragic practice of over-simplification. 


' It is the truthfulness and the information of the so-called authority that are in question; 
and this question the historian has to answer for himself, on his own authority. Even if 


he accepts what his authorities tell him, therefore, he accepts it not on their authority 
but on his own; not because they say it, but because it satisfies his criterion of historical 
truth. 1 

And the contra is also held out : 

1 The historian, however long and faithfully he works, can never say that his work is done 
once for all. ' 

- R.G. Collingwoor in 'The Idea of History '. 

The norm demands a firm, unequivocal statement from the biographer and 
the historian, it is true. The historian takes into account a variety of factors such 

as - 

Commonsense, Credibility, Probability, Capacity, Capability, 
Feasibility, Evidence, Space, Period, Time, Status and Integrity 
of the source and Image of the actor in question. 


Purandara claims it and the song is extant. His claim has been repeated and 
sustained during the last four centuries. The poet is hailed as a saint. His 
syllabus has not been altered nor sought to be altered still. His image is supreme, 
He is called 'Pitha Maha' and an avtar of Narada. Concert halls and dances and 
bhajans resound with his songs hailed by Vyasa as 'Purandaropanishad 1 . 
Institutions are named after him and festivals are celebrated in his honour. 


'In most cases, the authentic picture of many celebrated and venerable figures gets into 
a maze of myths and anecdotes. But these, as handed down by tradition, are NOT to 
be ignored but understood, for they represent the IMAGE that these great artists had 
created in the minds of the people and the VALUE that the people saw in their lives and 

Dr, V. Raghavan 
(Emphasis sfipplied) 

So, one can ill-afford to side-line his claim. To ignore it is to demolish the 
image so fervently created and nursed through centuries; and set at naught the 
immense faith and value musicians and music-lovers attach to Dasa and the 
inspiration they draw from his compositions. If one were to disbelieve his specific 
claim, can he still be called a Saint ? That is the crux of the issue. It does not 
stop at that. The credibility of many - big and great - shall also be in jeopardy. 
Vyasaraya said, 

If ever there was a Dasa, it is Purandara Dasa'. 

Should not such statements too be discarded? Sambandar, Appar and 


Sundarar are credited with singing 49000, 38000, 1 6000 padikams but only 383, 
312 and 100 are now available. Considering their total devotion, scholarship, 
poetical talents, can anyone still say that they could not have sung more than 
what are now available? Likewise Arunagirinathar is credited with singing 
sixteen thousand but only 1360 are available. Their devotion was so complete, 
their capability (asukavi) was so superhuman, that they are seen to be human 
Amazons coming down the Niagara Falls on the Atlantic Ocean; and their only 
mission and occupation were to spread spirituality. The man who has seen only 
the Silver Cascade is apt to deny that Niagara Falls comes down heavily from 
a height of over forty-five meters (Angel Waterfalls, Venezuela has a height of 
1000 metres,) It is subjective. 

I consulted Senior Musicologist Prof. S.R. Janakiraman and he waslgood 
enough to remark after profound thinking: ^ 

11 In music, it is a peculiar phenomenon that more than one composer of a particular stock 
has adopted the same vaggeyakara mudra. In the Dikshitar family, except Ramaswamy 
Dikshitar, the rest including Subbarama Dikshitar, why even the eldest of the Tanjore 
Quartette, Ponniah Pillai, had adopted 'Guruguha' as their mudra. A great number of 
spurious compositions under the stamp of Guruguha have also flooded the music world. 
Similarly it is possible that several Karnataka Composers had their signature as 
Purandara or Purandara Vittala. Such being the case, could not 'Purandara Dasa' just 
have represented the entire Dasakuta who have sung in praise of Vasudeva in such 
large numbers? Father, son and grandson, these three contributed the Tallapaka 
compositions and all had Venkatesa as the synonym. Their songs number 32000 out 
of which only 12000 could be unearthed on copper plates - solid and imperishable 
evidence. So long as there has been no Bhagavata sampradaya or a Geya sampradaya, 
the songs being transmitted from mouth to mouth, it looks immaterial and is of no avail 
to ponder over the possibility or otherwise of a mammoth number of songs composed 
by anyone single composer. ' 

He has further made the following thought-provoking observations: 

' Excepting for a reference, almost casual so it looks, by Subbarama Dikshitar, there is 
no documentary evidence to show that Purandara Dasa was the acclaimed primordial 
teacher of music who drafted an unquestionably uniform syllabus never possible in 
music. It is only an anumana pramana as one of the dozen musicologists of Karnataka 
has himself admitted such a tact. When even in the case of the kritis of Tyagaraja for 
the most part, not so much in the case of Dikshitar, there has been an unwarranted 
diversification of patantara -version of rendition between one school and another, why 
even between one musician and another, how are we to vouchsafe the authenticity, 
credibility, capability and capacity, and above all, being the most important one - human, 
physical possibility of the mortal composer with all due devotion to the divine minstrels 
commissioned on the earth. With all their divine calibre, they were also only human 
beings and proved themselves mortal though subsequently immortal by means of what 
they have left behind to have composed in such thousands? 

With due respect to the learned Professor, I think that Purandara Dasa 
cannot in this instant case betaken as representing a family or clan of composers 
as his song is unequivocally personal. A copy of the song is annexed. It is the 


personal claim of Purandara ! There is no case to orate ' Dasa was an 
honourable saint ; but I do not believe his song '. 

In fine, one has to bow with respect and admiration to the greatest of Dasas 
for his incredibly large, prodigious output, for his immortal contributions and for 
his saintliness. And with determination and dedication, may a search for the 
missing songs be instituted ! 

Search ? Search for his songs after four centuries and three decades ? Will 
it not be a wild goose chase - running after a mirage ? No, it need not be. 
Annamacharya's songs were found hidden in Tirupati temple. Tamil hymns were 
found secreted in the temple vaults at Chidambaram and salvaged in parts, 
'Chaturdandi Prakasikai' of Venkatamakhin was secreted for over a century 
during troublous times. Dr. U.Ve, Swaminatha Ayyar was able to bring back to 
life scores of ancient tamil literature like Qilappadikaram after centuries, 
Marvellous pieces of sculpture have been recovered from the safe, vast bosorn 
of earth. The author himself has taken possession as an official of treasure 
troves of icons of bewitching beauty and matchless workmanship at 
Pattiswaram, etc. Ancient, pre-historic township remnants are being unearthed 
at Poompuhar, Mohenjadaro, Harappa and many other sites. So there is every 
chance of unearthing a sizeable number of Purandara Dasa's output of kritis if 
not the whole of them. 

May institutions and mirsic-Iovers get interested and take the challenge ! 



Venue: Madras Music Academy. Year: 1933. 

E. Krishna Ayyar: What Nayana, it appears you are frightening 

your accompanists! 

Kanchipuram Nayana Pillai, Then, shall I allow them to frighten me? 
Vocal Maestro : 

T. Sankaran. 

Note: Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar had senior laya specialists Manpoondia 
Pillai on the hitherto unknown kanjira and Dakshinamoorti Pillai on mridangam with 
Malaikottai Govindaswami Pillai on violin - all stalwarts. T. Sankaran says that this 
was sneered at as * Magistrate Court'. This yielded to 'Full Benches' of Nayana Pillai, 
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Chittoor Subramania Pillai, Madurai Somu, Sirkazhi 
Govindarajan and now Mandolin Srinivas and Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan. 











Till the forties of the twentieth century, Classical Carnatic music reigned and 
ruled and enjoyed undisputed dominance in dramas and films - puranic, 
historical and sociaL Chaste Carnatic music flowed copiously from musician- 
actors and actor-musicians. Some of them have left a legacy which should be 
the pride of any culture or country. Resonant, captivating voice which traversed 
two octaves and over was sine qua nonfor acting in the mikeless, music-crazy 
era. Many of the films had thirty, forty and fifty songs in lilting, titillating pure 
classical tunes, Significantly dramatic troupes styled themselves 'sabhas', 
Cinema was a rich field for propounding alluring classical tunes and good lyrics 
of eminent composers like Subramania Bharati, Papanasarn Sivan and 
Kannadasan. Madurai G.S. Mani, a Classical Carnatic musician recently held 
several rounds of concerts with songs from films alone to the delight and 
admiration of the audience to demonstrate how chaste classicism had held total 
sway. It was a revelation. Musicians of the stature of Papanasam Sivan, 
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar, Musiri Subramania Ayyar, G.N. 
Balasubramaniam, Dandapani Desikhar, M.S. Subbulakshmi and K.B. Sunda- 
rambal enriched film music in a measure that classicism could not perhaps Hrave 
presented anything better at concerts. 

In the field of dramas, the oldest known troupe was the Bharata Bhushana 
Sangita Sabha. Sangita Kalanidhi Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar wrote and 
directed 'Vikrama Stri Sahasam 1 with Brahmadesam Krishna Sastrigal and 
other musicians in lead roles. Bhagavatar could not resist naming the heroine 
as 'Kanakangi' after the first Mela. Nawab Govinda Rao was the first modern 
dramatist. Legendary Sankaradas Swamigal was in the Kalyanaramier Troupe. 
Balamani Ammal Company (nothing to do with the Indian Companies Act) was 
a gold rush - a madding crowd's sensible destination. Railway trains running 
from Tiruchirapalli and Mayiladuthurai to Kumbakonam came to be called 
Balamani Specials 1 ! ( As a boy I have heard my mother musing the popular tune 
'Pattanathil Vandalodi Balamani' - Has Balamani come to town?) Madurambika 
Sangita Nataka Sabha and the much celebrated Cuhniah Company (Krishna 
Vinodha Sabha) dished out finest classicals to unprecedented crowds that 
fanatically thronged the gates daily. I had seen as a boy the Company's 
'Bhagawad Gita' at Kumbakonam running to crowded houses in 1 932. Cunniah 
celebrated the staging of the 1008th show. of 'Pattabhishekam'! It was a 
wonderful record then since population was just a third of the present and 
facilities were few. S.G. Chellappa's composition and entry song 'Dasaratha 
Raja Kumara'( Hindustan Kapi) was a glamorous hit which swayed, thrilled and 
enthralled thousands. Wizard S.G. Kittappa was a living legend - vide 1 A 
Garland '. With Harmonist S.G. Kasi Ayyar, they constituted the 'Sengottai Trio'. 


Musicians and music lovers idolised Kittappafor his classical idealism, robust 
innovative conception, matchless brikasand above all his all-conquering, divine 
voice which enchanted and captivated. Doordarshan profits even today on his 
few songs which are still extant for the benefit and solace of the listener. The 
magnificence of the musical excellence could be gauged from the fact that the 
last of his dramas for Cunniah Company in 1 923 was witnessed by a galaxy of 
musicians like Vocal maestro Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Nagaswara 
wizard T.N. Rajarathinam, Harikatha celebrity C. Saraswati Bai, Flute Tiruppam- 
buram Swaminatha Pillai, Violin stalwart Malaikottai Govindaswami Pillai, etc. 
It had all the grace of a sadas of the Music Academy ! Musicians flocked; public 
went delirious. 

There was a host of others like C.W Pantulu, Manamohana Arangaswami 
Naidu, S.V. Subbiah Bhagavatar, K.S. Devudu Ayyar (harmonist), Khader 
Batcha (harmonist) and Maharajapuram Krishnamurti, The precious jewel who 
set standards in lakshya music, K.B. Sundarambal was there. Hers was music 
that was traditional, orthodox in content, coverage and delivery. If only 
musicians like S.G. Kittappa and K.B. Sundarambal possessed with such 
transcendental voice and style exist today, it would sound the death-knell 
to promiscuous neo-classicism and rudderless light music. No doubt about 
it. The language would seem to have attained enhanced prestige by the 
winsome clarity of pronunciation she commanded! She started with 
Shanmuganandha Sabha of P.S. Velu Nair, in one of whose dramas I had acted 
as a eleven-year old maid at the Waltax Theatre, Madras in 1935-36. Nott 
Annaji Rao (purvashrama father of Swami Haridhos Giri) and P.S. Velammal 
were in it in lead roles. Madurai Original Boys, Nawab Rajamanickam troupe 
and T.K. Shanmugam Brothers were all legendary. 

And it should be noted that dramas were not confined to urban centres as 
now. Every village and every festival had dramas and there was a rich fare of 
classical music. That was the reason why classicism prospered then. It was an 
instrument of education and propagation of dharma, morals and nationalism too! 
Patriot Bhagat Singh was hanged by the British for the only treason of being a 
patriot ! Those were pre-independence days. 'Let the sound of those he wrought 
for and the feet of those he fought for, echo round his bones for evermore !' 
Gandhi Bhagavatar (Kumbakonam Rajarama Bhagavatar) composed that day 
the super-hit song that stirred up dormant patriotism in the far-flung areas - 

' Qirai Vayil Thanil Azhudal ! Bharatamata //" 
(Mother India wept at the gates of the prison.) 

Raga; Mand 

The same evening, the sterling silver-toned K.B. Sundarambal gave 
melodious life to it and sang the piece on the stage with such pathos and thrilling 
feeling that she had to be honoured with arrest by the British. (People now 


canvass for formal arrest warrants for record. It was then an entry to hell.) The 
song came to be sung by rustics in nooks and corners of Tamil Nadu. 
Golden-voiced K.S. Chellappa Ayyar famous for the entry - song 'Jay a Jaya 
Gokulabala (Bhairavi) with honeyed brikas and swaras and the talented male 
in lady's role, K.S. Anantanarayana Ayyar were dramatist-duos. Similar was the 
situation in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, where too dramas were very 
popular. It is surprising to note that Bidaram Krishnappa, Veena Shamanna, 
Subbanna, Honnappa Bhagavatar, Veeraraghava Ayyangar and several top 
musicians were all dramatists! And Classical Carnatic music was the raging 
medium for the musical extravaganza. And the elite and the rustic enjoyed it 

The entire edifice got shattered. The divine wedding or coparcenary between 
drama/film and classical music began to fade out in the fifties and is now part of 
history. The principal culprit was the mike which demolished voice-culture and 
the abettor was a famine of stage-musicians of the calibre of Kittappa and 
Sundarambal. Aggressive vendors of commercialised light music made it 
appear that light music alone stood for stage and films and for entertainment. 
Classical Music is the casualty in consequence. 


6 The most successful and prominent musicological output getting concentrated on the 
interpretation of the Sanskrit Sastras has prevented the youthful discipline of twentieth 
century, Indian Musicology, from attaining a holistic character...Systematisation of living 
traditions has remained unfulfilled... musicians and musicologists remain strange 
bedfellows, with - 

musicians scoffing at musicologists as irrelevant scholars and 

musicologists looking down at musicians as ill-informed, perspectionless, visionless, 
uneducated lot.* 

Anant Vaidyanathan. 

Thefe is a visible decline in the number of musicologists of eminence. 
Voco-musicologists like Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar and S.R. Janakiraman and 
scholarly musicologists like Dr. V. Raghavan and T.S. Parthasarathy are not many 
among rising generations. 

* * * - 


Music was a full-time vocation till a few years back with few exceptions. Now many 
of the young musicians are in full-time jobs and are part-time musicians. Music may be 
a stepping stone for promotion, Social and economic affluence and corporate patronage. , 
Do they block the scarce opportunities available for full-timers and thus render their 
vocation insecure? 




Climactic Dazzle 

Sage or layman, man, woman or child, everyone stands awed by and thrilled 
at the sight of mountains and never feels a surfeit of gazing at them, Gods take 
their abodes at the heights of mountains - Parameshwar on snow-clad Kailas, 
Venkateshwara at Tirupati and Kartikeya at Palani and people flock to them in 
preference to temples on plains. Raja Raja Chola wanted the Linga at Sri 
Brhadiswara temple, Tanjore to be very tall when he constructed the historic 
temple. Waterfalls are an eternal delight; greater the height, immense and 
complete is the delight. The Lord assumes Vishwarupato instil and convey the 
truth of His Omnipotence. Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay of Mount Everest 
conquest ( at! tara sthayi) are familiar names even to school children but not 
Jacques Coustau or C.S. Thompson who delved deep into the depths of oceans 
( anu mandara sthayi). Vedic chants reach the crescendo to bring devotion to 
pointed attention and provide a sense of fulfilment. 

'Tarakanama Tyagarajanutha* in Ksheerasagara (Devagandhari), Jagadod- 
dharana and such other tara sthayi rendition exult and captivate the listener 
much more than madhya sthayi. As the musician develops the alapana step by 
step on the arohana, the audience sits up and eagerly waits to see whether and 
how he scales the peak and gets ready to applaud. Once the peak is reached, 
exhilaration envelops the listener and a sense of attainment descends on the 
musician. There is alround pleasure. B.S. Rajah Ayyangar, S.G. Kittappa, 
K.B. Sundarambal, T.R. Mahalingam and such other singers (Homa birds as 
described by Ramakrishna Paramahamsa) were hot favourites of thousands of 
listeners for decades and their songs still bring back nostalgic memories. 

What is the magic or lure of the tara sthayi ? 

Padma Bhushan Prof. T.N. Krishnan opines: 

It is not only because of tara sthayi] but also because of the high sruti in 
which the musicians mentioned used to sing. This enabled the maestros to 
communicate and to have a permanent impact over their audiences with their 
deep music. Vocal or instrumental, sruti or pitch must be high while practising 
or performing.' Brigadier B. Ramamurthi has a different explanation to this 
phenomenon, the climactic dazzle or experience of bliss or ananda and it follows. 



Man's admiration for the Supreme 

(By Prof. (Dr). B. Ramamurthi, M.S., F.R.C.S.(E), F.l.c.S.(HON), 

F.A.C.S., F.A.M.S., FA.Sc., F.N.A., Neurosurgeon & President, 

National Board of Examinations., New Delhi.) 

What is this feeling of joy and grandeur that arises in us when listening to 
certain pieces of music, a feeling of getting elevated beyond ourselves for a few 
moments when enthralled by the magical notes? To/can unmadayan, shrutheer 
mukulayan - vijayatey vamsee ninadah sisoh". "Is there an explanation or is it a 
moment of bliss, where our mundane self momentarily embraces Cosmic Joy?" 

During evolution many basic qualities have been ingrained in the humans 
like feeding, reproduction, sex and the necessary emotions and these were 
superimposed with memory, intelligence and self awareness which differentiate 
us from the animals. Apart from these there are certain qualities that are 
apparent in us but for which there is no adequate explanation in the evolutionary 
process, e.g. self sacrifice, altruism, etc. Among these is the quality of 
admiration for something that is better than the ordinary, a peculiar combination 
of the feelings of joy, awe and grandeur that is aroused in the very depths of our 
being by certain experiences, thoughts and visions. 

The sense of grandeur evoked when looking at great mountains, the awe 
inspired by the gathering clouds of a storm, the beauty evoked in witnessing a 
glorious sunset and a feeling of enormity and magnificence when contemplating 
the vastness of the sky and the innumerable universes that lie beyond our vision 
- these are a few examples. The attempt at visualising the Paramatma as 
described in the Upanishads leaves us with a sense of wonder and inadequacy. 
11 Yatho vacho nivartanthey apprapya manasa $aha." These inherent and inbuilt 
feelings of joy and grandeur are kindled, when listening to certain types of music, 
in all humans, from the aborigines to the civilised, in the Occident and in the 
orient, in the illiterate and in the highly educated and in sinners and in saints. 

This is the feeling aroused in us when we hear our expert musicians render 
certain pieces of wonderful music. This feeling does not depend on one's 
knowledge of music, but arises in the depths of our being by the very act 
of listening to the magnificent notes. It can only be surmised that this feeling 
arises somewhere deep within our soul, perhaps as a fleeting reminder of our 
great heritage, of our intimate connection with the Supreme Being, who is 
inherent in all our souls. For a few moments we feel within ourselves the Bliss 
that is shining within us, the effulgence of the Supreme Spirit activating our 
existence. Covered by ignorance and by ever disturbing thoughts and emotions, 
this supreme joy which is our birthright is denied to us ordinarily, but during 
certain moments of our life, as when listening to the magical notes of inspired 


music, our inner being rises above all its bondages and manifests to ourselves 
for a moment in the feeling of supreme joy, ANANDA. No wonder our ancients 
taught us that one of the easier ways to achieve Bliss or Ananda is through 
Nadopasana. If listeners could be so elevated, we can imagine the joy that the 
musician must be experiencing when rendering these blissful notes. 


Venue : Kanchipuram Naina Pillai's house. 

Occasion : Lunch to musicians and friends. 

Konnakol Mannargudi Pakkiria Pillai, Pudukottai Dakshinamurti Pillai and Dolak 
Kumbakonam Venu Chettiar sat by the side of Naina Pillai, who asked his wife to 
4 pour'(not merely serve) ghee to Chettiar. Innocent Chettiar was puzzled and looked at 
the Pudukkotai percussion maestro, who clarified : 

* Don't you understand ? The lion asks its equipollent. 
More ghee to us now is only to roast us this evening ! * 

(Source: B.M. Sundaram) 

Naina Pillai was known for his terrifying pallavi and laya-oriented aggressive music. 
Naturally the percussionists were ever alert and ill at ease at his concerts for fear of being 
'roasted* to the gaze of the audience. Accompanists dreaded to share the stage. 

* * * 


Laya connotes tension. Many could not swallow or tolerate it. Veteran 
parliamentarian S. Satyamurti and pioneer bharatanatya specialist E. Krishnayyar were 
' among its critics. Both were freedom fighters and were with the Music Academy, Madras 
in fact. Naina Pillai cared little for views against his laya and pallavi. *On the other hand, 
he increased inversely proportional pallavis a fortiori ' If anyone caused disturbance or 
asked for any particular piece, he would admonish them significantly by singing - 

Mariyadagadayya (It is not an act of respectability) , 

Budhi raadu (True wisdom will not dawn...) , 

Seetavara Sangeeta Gnaanamu (One must be blessed with 

daata vmayavalena knowledge of music). 

When someone asked for a piece of Arunachala Kavirayar, Kanchi Dhanakoti Ammal 
obliged him by singing the piece - 

'Yaarada Kurange' (Who are you, Oh! Monkey ?) ' 

(Source: B.M. Sundaram) 

A memorable public recognition and honour to the rasika indeed ! 




'A Garland ' contains an account of the contribution made by Pudukottai to 
music and the large number of musicians who adorned the Court 

There is a tradition that Tyagaraja visited the State and at the instance of his 
guru Sonti Venkataramanayya sang Jyoti Swarupini raga causing a wick kept 
for the purpose to burn and that Syama Sastri had also visited the State. (Manual 
of Pudukottai State, 1940 Volume II.) How far this tradition is true to fact is not 
known but it may be noted that Pudukottai is just sixty kilometres from Tanjore. 
Vide map. The District Gazetteer (1983) adds: 

1 Pudukottai has for several centuries been a seat of music and dance. A number of rulers 
of the Tondaiman Dynasty were connoisseurs of fine arts. Vijaya Raghunatha Raya 
Tondaiman was himself an accomplished musician and composer. Pudukottai had the 
unique privilege of being blessed with the benign presence of Sri Sadasiva 
Brahmendral. In Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini (1 904) , we find the names of a number 
of musicians honoured by the Pudukottai Court.. The musical tradition can be traced to 
the seventh century A. D. when the famous inscriptions at Kudumiamalai were incised. . . ' 

Tirumayam too had inscriptions of value. One of the rulers, Ramachandra 
Tondaiman was a prolific composer and his kuravanji was enacted at Viralimaiai. 
The sculpture of Vinadhara Dakshinamurti at Tirumayam shows the Lord holding 
the vina obliquely and playing with his right hand and plucking the strings with 
the left. The bowl is on the left and the yali is on the right side. It is mentioned 
that Tiruvenkadayyar took cue probably from this, played so and came to be 
called 'Savya Sac/7/ 1 (Arjuna). The eminent bhagavatha Gopala Krishna 
Bhagavatar, Tirugokarnam Kanakambhujam (harikatha) and T.S. Ranganayaki 
(mridangist) hailed from Pudukottai. Pahimam Brihannayike, the swarajati, is 
attributed to Swati Tirunal though Dr. V. Raghavan doubts the authenticity of this 
version. Viralimaiai Kuravanji (c.1750 A.D.) was being staged annually. 
Karaikudi Veena Brothers were from Pudukottai. 


The word 'Konda ' means in telugu 'a hill' but in tamil 'bring'. Actually the 
place brought in good compositions from two great savants. Bhadrachala 
Ramadasa made the devotional outpourings of an incarcerated soul while he 
underwent incarceration at Golkonda. Kshetragna was with the ruler of Tanjore. 
The ruler of Golkonda invaded Tanjore with success and Kshetragna strangely 


walked into the camp of the invader - voluntarily or in captivity - and was taken 
to Golkonda. One thousand pieces were composed by him there though only a 
small number is available now. 


Known for its rich fertility, vast carpet of paddy fields intersected by small 
and big channels and groves and situated in the bosom of the Cauvery Delta, 
Melattur is one of the chosen centres of the Goddess of Art with several satellite 
villages around it. If Kuchipudi caught the imagination of Andhra, Melattur has 
carved out its place in Tamil Nadu with its Bhagavata Mela. Tsoukam 
Veerabhadrayya, guru to Ramaswami Dikshitar and Venkatarama Sastri, who 
authored Prahalada Charitram and other dance-dramas in teiugu hailed from 
Melattur. Once a year, the Mela (festival) is held and dance-dramas are enacted 
by hereditary artistes with music and abhinaya. They are 'neither of the folk type 
nor the modern, glamorised ordinary dramas. Nor can it be said to have been 
evolved from folk plays. It is a revival of the ancient Natya tradition', says the 
master-architect of the resurgence of bharata natya, E. Krishna Ayyar. 
Bhagavata Mela at Melattur is one of the recognised art-festivals of India. ( Vide 


A sacred place near the author's village (Vide map), Tiruppamburam has 
been a nursery of nagaswara artistes, an eminent flautist and dramatists. 
Adisesha, the deity after whom the village must have derived its name, 'is 
worshipped here and has been praised by eminent tamil saints. There was one 
Ayyan Pillai followed by his successors Sesha Pillai (odhuvar and sarindha), 
Kulandaivel Pillai (odhuvar and vainika), Swaminatha Pillai, a disciple of 
Koorainadu Nagaswaram Ramaswami and the famous Tiruppamburam 
Brothers Natarajasundaram and Sivasubramaniam (nagaswaraim). The elder 
published the kritis of Muthuswami Dikshitar as 'Dikshitar Kirtanai Prakasikai ', 
following Subburama Dikshitar (1904) as a tribute to the great composer. His 
son was the famous flautist and composer Sangita Kalanidhi T.N. Swaminatha 
Pillai. The latter's sons taught nagaswaram at the Annamalai University 
and Swamimalai and Palani Music Schools. His son Dr. Shanmughasun- 
daram, a fine musician is currently Principal, Tamil Nadu Music Training 
Centre, Madras. Pakkiriswami of the village was a dramatist whose team would 
pour out melodious songs effortlessly. The beauty is that his artistes would play 
the role of Krishna and Radha at night and the next morning would be seen doing 
some agricultural work - the change being as smooth as the transition of the 
night into day. That is a tribute to their artistic sagacity, acumen and versatility. 
It is claimed that Avvan Pillai was the son of Amirriakavi Knnnmh Piilai a 


of the celebrated Muthu Thandavar. Thandavar's Sirkali is just sixty kilometres 
from Thiruppamburam. 


Karvetinagar, Venkatagiri, Nuzvid, Challapalli, Vizianagaram and Bobbin 
have been great centres of promotion and sustenance of music, art and 
patronage. Maharaja Ananda Gajapatigaru is stated to have enabled Tachur 
Singaracharyulu to travel extensively and acquire material for bringing out and 
popularising six graded books on music. Veena with Venkataramana Das 
Pantulu and harikatha (musical discourse) with Adibhatla Narayana Das brought 
fame and glory to the place. Das was the first Principal of Maharajah's College 
of Music, Vizianagaram and was succeeded by Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu 
in 1936. Prof. P. Sambamurti states that Vizianagaram carved for itself an 
honoured place on the musical map of India largely due to the patronage of 
Maharaja Ananda Gajapati and the advent of illustrious musicians like - 

Gururayacharyulu, Duruvasulu SuryanarayanaSastrulu, Venkataramana Das, 
Adibhatla Narayana Das and Kala Prapurna Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu. 


Compositions starting with the letter *NA' destroys wealth : 

with the letter *HA* destroys fame ; and 
with the letter *MA* destroys everything. 

This warning in Sangita Darpan may be assessed in the context of songs like - 

Nadachi Nadachi (Kharaharapriya) 

Han Yanuvani (Todi) and 
Makelara Vicharamu (Ravichandrika). Let it 'destroy everything*, what do I care ? 


Classical Carnatic music is in the process of transition from uncompromising 
tradition-based classicism to an undefined compromising classicism with a multitude 
of software professional vendors catering to professional and amateur purchasers and 
audience in the hands of a plethora of urban-oriented commercial and non -commercial 
vested interests whose interest in the promotion of classicism may be perhaps marginal. 






The Inimitable Bharatis 

1 Of thousands of men some rare soul strives to realize Me: 
Of those striving Yogis, again, some rare one knows Me in reality. ' 

(VI I -3 Bhagavad Gita) 

1881 was the year of discarding his earthly frame. 1 882 was the year of his birth. No 
fears; there is no mistake in the years! The Bharati of Narimanam left and the Bharati of 
Ettayapuram arrived. Subramania Bharati drew profound inspiration from the songs of 
Gopala Krishna Bharati. Cultural, emotional and artistic instincts and ideals of both were 
in essence identical and their revolutionary endeavours ran on even keel. While spiritual 
uplift and crusade against untouchability predominate in the songs of Gopala Krishna, 
social uplift and crusade for political independence are the dominant features of 
Subramania. If Nandanar was the chosen instrument for the projection of his ideals for 
one, Tilak, Lajpat Rai, Panchali, etc., were the instruments of the other. Both were 
strangers to material affluence. Both were supreme masters in tamil and music. Even 
if Tamil Nadu sidelines them and their contributions, history shall assign them golden 

Dr. M.V. Jayarama Ayyar of Venkatesha Education Society, Bangalore has drawn 
some beautiful parallel identities in the songs of the two Bharatis which substantiate 
how Subramania had extensively taken the lead given by and drawn inspiration from his 
elder (Anandathandavapuram Gopala Krishna Bharati Souvenir). Here are they; 

Of Gopala Krishna Bharati 

Eppo tolaiyuminda thunbam 

Madu tinnum pulaya 
Unakku Margazhi thirunalo? 

Gnayamtano neersollum: 

QyNandanare, Namma jadhikkadukkumo ? 

Namenna seyvom pulayare; Indha 
bhoomiyilillada pudumaiyai Random 

Andaikkadimai nanallave 

Tillaiveliyile kalandu 
kondalavar tirumbiyum ... 

Of Subramania Bharati 

Endru thaniyuminda sudandira dagam.. 

Thondu seyyumadimai; 
Unakku sudandira ninaivoda? 

Oy, Tilakare nam jadhikkadukkumo? 
Seyvadu sariyo sollum. 

Namenna seyvom thunaivare; Indha 
bhoomiyilillada pudumaiyai kandom 

Anniyartamakkadimai allave 

Vira sudandiram vendi nindrar 
pinnar, verondru...' 

These clearly establish the fact that the ingenuous flame disappeared on the day of 
Maha Sivaratri in 1881 only to reappear in 1882 not only to prove that soul is immortal 
but also to declare unequivocally that the elder was the legator, trail-blazer and the 
younger the legatee. 




(A Farce) 

* Janaki, could you recollect having seen this magnificent landscape ?' 

'No, dear Lord, it was long back and I was then in captivity and in deep 
distress. How could I ever think of the landscape then? You have thoughtfully 
brought me here now, I am glad that your visit to this cultured Chola Desa had 
blessed the people with rivers running to their brim after a long time.... Much has 
changed too since my last journey to the South with scores of enchanting 
temples of immense* size, rare architectural beauty and sculptural elegance 
springing up like chess pieces on a vast carpet of green paddy fields intersected 
by serpentine rivers and roads like improvised, innovative delineation of ragas 
and swaras. Noble edifices, ancient culture, appearance of a galaxy of sages, 
saints, rulers and artistes of eminence, what a beautiful land of aggregated 
charm and splendour is this!! No wonder music and dance found their genial 
home here. ' 

(Sita and Rama pass through Chidambaram, Mayiladuthurai, Aduthurai, 
Kumbakonam and Tiruvidaimarudur, Mannargudi and reach Tanjore, There is 
hesitation. Pushpak viman slows down and hovers over Tanjore.) 

You seem to be turning back? Is not Panchanada Kshetram (Tiruvaiyaru) in 
our itinerary? You look agitated too!' 

[ Sita draws near.] 

1 would like to skip Tiruvaiyaru, Sita. Once we step into Tiruvaiyaru, 
Tyagaraja would block our movement and I am scared of him too!! 1 

Tyagaraja! How does he come into the picture? It was you who granted him 
salvation a century and a half back/ 

'Oh! I understand. The mother in you clouds your vision and renders you 
blind to realities. Can't you recollect his harassing me with never-ending pleas, 
pathetic and pressing entreaties, nagging questions, petty insinuations and 
intolerant jealousies! His passion for his kshetra and this river Cauvery and his 
surrender to Nadopasana would surely drive him mad once he knows that we 
were to be at Tiruvaiyaru. He will relinquish his place in Heaven or take a holiday 
from Salvation itself and wait at the bridge on the outskirts of Tiruvaiyaru. . . . You 
may like to see him again. But I shudder even to think of Tyagaraja. Please try 
to forget the place. We have many places to see yet... If you like, we could visit 


'How could you say so of that prime devotee of yours. Very unfair, dear. We 
should be glad if he steals sometime from Heaven to be with us ' 

'Maithili, you have no idea of the nagging harassment I had suffered, his 
cutting sarcasm, his biting insinuations and his colossal capacity and obsession 
with his own urge. Even if Tyagaraja is not there, Tyagaraja-ism is sufficient 
to unnerve me.' 

(Wipes the surging sweat with Site's scented handkerchief apparently 
in a tactical manoeuvre to rope her in to his view.) 

'See, Sita; You know that I had given him darshans and often talked to him. 
Why, he has himself acknowledged them in many songs like - 

Bhavanuta - Mohanam, wherein he refers to my visit to 

his house; 

Pa/i/ Rama Rama Yanuchu - Kharaharapriya, in which he avers that I gave him 

darshan and spoke to him endearingly. 

Kanugontini - Bilahari, in which he records having found me: and 

Giripai Nelakonna - Sahana, wherein he categorically notes that he had 

been promised of Salvation by me. 

Do not be under the impression that it was all casual 'seeing' and the like. 
He concedes in Enta Bhagyamu - Saranga of i% being close to him, speaking 
to him with affection and dispelling all his sorrows. Paluku Kandachakkeranu - 
Navarasa Kannada is the relevant record of my discussing with him the merits 
of the dance and music of - not Tanjore courtezans but of - celestial women and 
dancing girls and that our discussions were fruitful and sweet. He concedes, in 
his Rama Rama Ramachandra - Ghanta, Chinna nade A/a ( Kalanidhi ) and 
Emani Vegintune - Huseni , that he had nothing to aspire for and that I had taken 
him by the hand, embraced him and cheered him up. With the population 
galloping towards 5000 millions and attendant work, I forget when I had taken 
your hand, Sita. But I am sure I had taken his out of sheer love of him and 
sympathy for his saintliness, musicianship and supreme vaggeyakara 
eminence. But when I seek to look to others, lo! what happens? He raises a 
hue and cry like a naughty orphan, a nagging second wife, a domineering nayika 
(virahotkanthita, vipralabda, proshitabhartrika or a viyoga), or a hungry ailing 
person. He accuses me of deserting him though he is fully aware of his special 
relationship with me. 

He cries, weeps, objects, challenges, accuses and teases. I am harassed, 
Sita. Pity me, dear. My father would not have suffered so at the hands of my 
step-mother from Kekaya. ..You smile when I feel embittered. He keeps 
incessant pressure on me nibbling away my time and energy as in - 


Enta Papinaiti - Gowlipantu-. Says, he cannot bear separation from me! 

Chentane Sada - Kuntalavarali: Insists on being with me always. 

Do you see the threat to your own companionship? 

Lali Lalayya - Kedaragowla: Warns me that he would not part with me. 

Is it Satyagraha or Duragraha, Sita? 

Ni Vadane Gana - Saranga: ' I can't bear your separation even for a minute 1 , 

says he. 

Am I to desist from ail my duties? What happens to my confidential work 
if we were to co-exist like a kangaroo and its cub? 

You smile; only he who wears the shoe feels the pinch. My parents and 
brothers would never give me a whisper of any difficulty. Of course, you were 
harsh when I started for the forest at the bidding of my step-mother. That was 
probably what it should have been to fulfil my avatar mission. But Tyagaraja 
teases me saying that I am not compassionate (Ramabhirama Ramaniya Nama 
- Darbar). He goes further and demands that I should swear to him, Sita 
(Andundakane - Pantuvarali )\ Wants me to be talking to him alone endlessly 
as if I begot him late in my life after much penance and pilgrimage (Palukavemi 
A/a Daivama - Purnachandrika). Kings and princes wait on me and talk to me 
with respect. But see how "TVagaraja stoops to taunt and tease me taking 
advantage of my solicitude: 

'Not an act of respectability 1 - Mariyada Gadayya - Bhairavam 

'Have you no self-respect' - Manama Leda? - Hamir Kalyani 

You have no love for the poor' - Nidasanudasu - Hamir Kalyani 

He accuses me of blatant duplicity in Chala Kallaladu ( Arabhf) and Atta 
Balukudu(Atana). Please note that he raises his voice in Atana. He does not 
allow me to rest. He blows hot and cold. Actually I see deliberate, planned 
duplicity in his conduct; otherwise how could that charge arise in his song?' 

'Dear, the architecture of this Brhadeeswara temple is unique ...' 

'Sita, stop that. I have seen it a dozen times. I feel that you want me to ignore 
the pinpricks and look beyond at the alleged innate goodness of the bard. Well, 
that is what I too wanted. But see, he might go to the civil court alleging that 1 
was not fair to him and that he had suffered in consequence (Rama Ninu 
Namminanu - Mohanam). It is not an isolated insinuation. He is creating a case 
for action for tort in Chelimini Jalajakshu - Yadukula Kambhojithat owing to my 


absence, his health has gone down and he has become weak in body and that 
he is suffering from agony and fatigue in Bhavanuta - Mohanam. To build up 
evidence; he records that I had hidden myself (Endudaginado - Todi), as if I was 
jumping bail seeking to escape from the clutches of law. This is sheer 
impertinence. It suffocates and oppresses me, Sita.' 

' Dear, Tyagaraja only expresses his anguish and gives free vent to his robust 
but oppressive love of you and as a poet it could be that he takes liberties to 
exaggerate. So...' 

I You know him not. You are carried away by his platitudinous, sugar-coated 
songs. Let me be frank with you now. (In muffled tone.) He is even jealous of 
you, Sita. He pries into our privacy. Unwittingly he has recorded in La// Yugave 

- Nilambari that he was adoring me when you were giving me betel and nut for 
chewing! Does he stop there? He takes liberties with this son of Dasaratha f this 
King of Ayodhya and directs, 'Come hand in hand with Janaki 1 (Sri Rama Rama 

- Gopikavasantam). He would have invited us to a waltz had he not been 
elevated to the Heaven!' 

[ Sita seeks to say something. But her Lord allows her not] 

II Patience Sita. I have not finished. Tyagaraja actually wants to be a second 
Sita to lullaby me to sleep - 

La// Laliyani - Harikambhoji and 

Uyyala - Nilambari 

He directs me to ' Drink this milk' as if there is no milk at Ayodhya or in 
Vaikuntha (Aragimpave - Tod/)! He lacks capability to check himself and stop. 
He wants to supplant you, Sita! He wants to wean me from you by sedulously 
suggesting - 

to 'accept rose-water bath' - Koluvamare Gada - Todi, 

to 'accept the comfortable bed 1 - Ramabhirama - Darbar t 

to 'take my bed on this couch ' - Sri Rama Rama - Gopikavasantam] 

to ' accept this pansupari ' ' - Vidamu Seyave - Kharaharapriya ; 

that he 'would decorate me himself -Chetulara - Kharaharapriya ; 

. that he 'would dress and decorate me himself * t 

- Rara Sita - Hindola Vasantam" 

1 It is all the outburst of love of filtered purity, my Lord. 1 


'Well, see how he filters! Your enigmatic smile intrigues me! Why not wait 
for the climax? Tyagaraja betrays himself in his Rara Sita that he would not only 
dress me but would invite me to... Shameful. I am ashamed to mention that.' 

'If he invites you to dine or for something else, why not go and give him the 

'Keep quiet. It's not anything of that sort. He solicits me 'Give me a kiss; I 
shall hug you to my bosom'. This is wretched nonsense. 1 

'Allow him to do so once. He would go away. What is there for you to lose, 
my Lord?.' 

'So you suggest that I should have my 'oka patnf qualification rewritten and 
have anothej as Tyaga-Sita by my side. 1 

'Dear, you took to task Jabali Rishi when he spoke in his love of you and his 
desire to keep you at Ayodhya. Now when Tyagaraja says some simple things, 
you get annoyed. 1 

You are not fair to me, Sita. I may run mad.... Yes, mad.' 

* No dear, if he wants a kiss, why not give it. None will mistake your action. 
As a child, you played your first and last mischief with that Manthara and you 
reaped the consequences. But misbehaviour is not in your element. Tyagaraja 
has himself given you a Certificate of Good Behaviour with the women of 
Ayodhya when they were charmed with your radiant face and approached you. 
(Natha Brovave-Bhairavi). Please spend sometime at Tiruvaiyaru. The world is 
now marching towards 5000 million souls as you said. I too would like to do 
some social work to wipe the tears of the poor! 

'Now I get at the secret of your support. Vote-catching? Social work? Turned 
political? Or you are captivated and lured by his deceptive saintly approach, 
enchanting music and multi-dimensional praise of you! Well, you may not care; 
but what of others. Tyagaraja is jealous of everyone else: 

of innocent Sabari (Entani Ne - Mukhari) , ^ 

of devoted Garuda (Vinatasuta - Huseni) and 

of my matchless brother, Lakshman (Mitri Bhagyame Kharaharapriya), 

Am I to discard them all and be by the side of your ward, allow him to dress and 
decorate me, take milk and pan supari from his hands and give him a kiss as 
and when he desires? Are you mad, Sita? Nan Oru Vilayattu Bommaya (Am I a 
mere plaything) as Papansam Sivan has sung? 

[ His face reflects deep distress and frustration.] 


By allowing him to do all this, do you think I could hope to silence him. He will 
pester me with questions galore. What an array of never-ending questions he 
releases? He has the make-up to be the best prosecuting advocate in a country 
criminal court that was ever produced. Just think of a few songs like - 

Rama Ninu Namminanu - Mohanam and Inta tamasamite - Saveri. 

This Yuga will not be sufficient to answer his queries. Well, no use of trying to 
satisfy you when you refuse to appreciate my distress. I shall stay at Tanjore, 
see Tiruvaiyaru and return. Tyagaraja-ism will confront you there; and you are 
sure to return as Parvati did after trying to attend the yaga of Daksha, her father. 1 

'Once, I parted with you and I learnt a bitter lesson. Either we go together or 
we drop Tiruvaiyaru. When you talk so well of his capacity for questioning, why 
not atleast confer a title on him now that every young artiste carries a cartload 
of titles and the poor bard has none. 1 

'Sita, I really wonder at your capacity to bear insults. He audaciously 
questions you, 'Do* you sing with love; do you prostrate with your body before 
Rama* (Pakkala Nilabadi-Kharaharapriya). You don't take it amiss! I shall refer 
the issue of conferring a title posthumously on him to a Committee to examine, 
as is the practice now, and suggest. Now I could give him a post-graduate 
degree - "M.I. " - Master of Interrogation! 1 

1 Sita, I would like not only to drop Tiruvaiyaru trip but feel like distancing 
myself from Kharaharapriya raga itself. Tyagaraja invokes it too much for his 
insinuating indulgences! And he succeeds!! ' 

(Tired of arguing and anxious not to miss the chance of enjoying the 
splendiferous natural beauty, both relapse into silence for a while. The Pushpak 
viman strays a little beyond Tanjore towards Tiruvaiyaru.) 

'Sita', asks a startled Rama, 'did you sing?' 

'No, you did not ask me to.... You were thoughtful...' 

'I hear that song Etavuna Nerchitivo (Yadukula Kombhoji) meaning - 

"Why are you going about enacting the drama? 
Have your devotees been inviting you 
to stage this drama of yours?" 

That is the golden voice of Tyagaraja and it is his song. He beckons us. Hurry 
up; he will take me to task if we tarry further. If Tyagaraja is not there, 
Tyagaraja-ism will do so.... See the beauty of the place. His description in 


Muripemu Galige Gada - Mukhari as a charming and excellent place in all the 
world is no exaggeration! Tyagaraja envisages Lakshman to be with us too. Let 
us summon him too.,. Oh, Lakshman is here!' 

You accused Tyagaraja a little while ago and bestowed on him the 
unsolicited degree 'M.L' Now, you will appreciate that it is a poor recompense 
for his conferring on you the degree 'M.D.' (Master of Dramaturgy). If you had 
not terminated your play, Tyagaraja~i$m would have surely conferred a 
doctorate on you. 1 

(The groves, temples and the river Cauvery 
reverberate with their laughter and ours too.) 


'Where are you starting, grandpa ?* 
i 'For Classical Carnatic music concert at,.. * 

*You are doing disservice to the ancient art, grandpa/ 

'How ?' 

*With your attendance, the average age of the audience will come down, grandpa !* * 


Note : There are committees galore for everything. Will it be too much to set up one more High 
Level Committee to go into the issue of attracting youth and people from all strata of the 
community ? 

* ( Grandpa would be the youngest in the audience ! ) 


'Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar gave his concert in 1966 with dhoti, jibba and 
angavastram (upper cloth);" with dhoti and jibba alone in 1967; with dhoti and upper 
cloth alone in 1968 and in 1969 with the dhoti alone. I feel nervous and apprehensive 
of attending his concert in 1970 !' Subbudu. 

(Bhagavatar was a Sangita Kalanidhi who was at home not only in music with his 
inimitable tone but also with changes- in his sartprial selections. -Of course, he was no 

'Notation is to improvisation as the portrait to the living model. ' 

Ferrucio Busoni. 




'She tries to explore the aveqarika in the gandhara grama so that she could unite 
with her husband ; but her tears trickle down her cheeks on the strings of the veena. 
Consequently, the strings do not produce the desired murcchanas for the right effect/ 

Treatise on Ancient Hindu Music by 
Aruna Bhattacharya (K.P. Bagchi & Co.) 





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Dr, R.S. Nagar observes: 

' There were probably many commentaries on Natya Sastra', but Abhinavabharatils the 
most renowned and erudite one. It is the only key to open the vast treasures of Natya 
Sastra. ' 

Abhinavaguptacharya wrote the work Natyavedavriti or Abhinavabharati. It 
is said that he hailed from Kashmir and belonged to the Sphota School of 
Kashmir. His period is not mentioned. 


Srinivasa Ayyar: (January 21, 1912 - 1980) 

Sivasubramania Ayyar : (1 91 6 - June 28, 1 965) 

Alathur Brothers came together in training and throughout their musical 
career were the most prominent and popular duo till death snatched away 
Sivasubramania Ayyar. They were not consanguineous brothers. Srinivasa, son 
of Angara! Sankara Srowtigal and Lakshmi Ammal and born at Ariyalur came 
from a tamil family while Sivasubramania, son of Vidwan Venkateswara Ayyar 
and Lakshmi Ammal was a telugu. But both started their training in music under 
Venkateswara Ayyar and there ensued an enduring musical coparcenary 
fostered by common training and cemented by a spiritual bondage sans jealousy. 
Of course, there did occur differences once when the Music Academy, Madras 
decided to confer the prestigious title of 'Sangita Kalanidhi', Srinivasa wanted 
the other to receive first being the son of his guru and an equal partner, his'own 
age being secondary, while Sivasubramania would not accept it saying that 
seniority in age alone counted. Finally it was resolved to cast lots before the 
photo of the Guru and the title went to Sivasubramania Ayyar in 1 964; and 
Srinivasa Ayyar got it in 1965. (The title is yet to be given jointly as is done in 
the case of Nobel Prize,) Sivasubramania was seven and Srinivasa was eleven 
when they started their training under the father of the former and they were 
compared to the companionship of Krishna and Kuchela while at school by 
Srinivasa Ayyar himself though he did not specify who was Krishna and who was 
Kuchela. Srinivasa Ayyar was a scholar in Sanskrit, was Secretary to the 
Tyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha, Tiruvaiyaru and was the son-in-law of Valadi 
Krishna Ayyar, an eminent musician and teacher. 


Pudukottai Dakshinamurti Pillai was their close friend, philosopher and guide 
and the Karaikudi Veena Brothers were their patrons. Sivasubramania Ayyar 
played on veena and kanjira for sometime and was intimately associated with 
the percussion maestros, Palghat Mani Ayyar and Palani Subramania Pillai. 
Alathur Brothers were the fourth generation disciples of Sri Tyagaraja through 
Manambuchavadi Venkatasubba Ayyar. The two musicians had thus imbibed the 
best of music and laya through inheritance, training and association. 

The Duo made their debut in 1 928 at the Tyagaraja Festival, Tiruvaiyaru and 
then gave a performance during the Guru Pooja in the famous Dakshinamoorthi 
Temple, Tiruvarur in 1928 and soon shot into fame and popularity. Were noted 
for their true traditional values and specialisation in laya and pallavi. They 
synchronised well, had attractive voice-blend and enjoyed a wide repertoire. 

Apart from the honours from the Music Academy, the Travancore Court 
appointed them as Asthana Vidwans. The fact that the brothers were both 
honoured by the Academy separately shows the high level of expertise and 
talents they enjoyed both individually and collectively. Sangita Nataka Academy 
Award was presented to Srinivasa Ayyar in 1 968. Alathur Brothers had no peers 
among duos in expertise, elegance, fame and stature. 


The unfretted gottuvadyam, also called Vichitra Veena, is such a demanding 
instrument calling for expertise and dedication that just a few have mastered it 
in the annals of Carnatic music after Tiruvidaimarudur Sakharama Rao and 
Budalur Krishnamurti Sastri. Allam Koteswara Rao is one of the very few vidwans 
now who are proficient in it. Born in a family of musicians in Andhra Pradesh, he 
was initiated in music by his elder brother and Pemmaraju LakshmipatL He learnt 
playing on gottuvadyam under Saride Subbarao, a renowned violin artiste till 
1950, when he started giving performances on All India Radio, Vijayawada. He 
enriched his expertise by undergoing further training under A, Narayana Ayyar 
at Madras. Was Staff Artiste, All India Radio for 24 years till 1986. Has been 
giving performances in sabhas, All India Radio and Doordarshan. 

AMBHUJAM KRISHNA - LYRICIST: (d. October 20, 1989) 

Ambhujam Krishna, a Home Science Graduate of Delhi University came into 
the renowned TVS family of Madurai-Madras on her marriage with the distin- 
guished industrialist T.S. Krishna. Daughter of Madurai Ranga Ayyangar, she 
had her training in music under Karaikudi Ganesan and Madurai Ganesa 
Bhagavatar. A staunch devotee of God and an ardent lover of arts, she took to 


composing in Sanskrit, telugu, tamil, hindi and manipravalam (macaronic). The 
compositions are noted for fragrance of imagination, chaste language, clarity 
of thought and spontaneity. Her lyrics are brought out in four volumes of 
'Geethamala\ Her colossal output was not the result of planned exercise but 
were outpourings of a genius blessed with a mind that was sharp and an 
imagination that liaised with the best and the noble. 

As she was not a musician, she availed of the services of a host of musical 
and dance stalwarts to set her six hundred songs to tune like: 

Aadinaaye Kanna T.N. Seshagopalan 

Nee Poi Azhaithu Vaadi | v v S adagopan 
Kudhittodi Varaai Guhane / a 

Rajunaite Brothuvemo Dr. S. Ramanathan 

Krishna Leela Maduryam Madurai N. Krishnan 

Radha Madhavam j K R Kedaranathan 

Aadum Paadanai J 

Invocation song addressed 

to Mukkuruni Pillaiyar, Madurai Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasier 

En Azhaganai Azhaithu Vaarai Sakhi Anantalakshmi Sadagopan. 

Her songs are adopted for music and dance concerts. The composer had 
thoughtfully utilised different musicians of repute to ensure that sahitya-bhava 
carries sangita-bhava. 


Ananda Dasa was born atCheekala Paravi on the banks of theTungabhadra 
and was initiated by Sreesa Dasa. He wrote the 'Kirtana Gite* a compendium on 
Bhagavad Gita in kannada with the signature of Kamalesu Vittala. He was 
honoured by the Maratha King Chatrapathi Shivaji. 


Versatile as a vocalist, violinist and vainika, R. Anantakrishna Sarma was a 
life-long teacher and a scholar in telugu. A collection of his literary essays and 
speeches and 108 songs of Annamacharya set to music by him with notation 
were published in 1 954, He has published 'Ganakala', rendered into telugu forty 
padas of Purandaradasa and translated Jayappa's 'Nritta Ratnavalf into telugu 
for the Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Natak Academy. 

Service: Teacher in telugu, Maharajah's College, Mysore for 38 years 
Reader in Music, S.V. Oriental Institute, Tirupati 
Vice President, Andhra Pradesh Sangeet Academy. 


The musician-teacher has been honoured by various institutions : 

Gana Kala Prapurna By Andhra Music Conference 

Gana Kala Sindhu - By Music Conference, Mysore 

Sangita Kaia Ratna By Music Conference, Bangalore 

Certificate of Merit Music Academy, Madras 1 958. 

Fellowship By the Sangit Natak Akademy, New Delhi. 

D.Lit (honoris causa) By Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati 

Sangita Kalanidhi By Music Academy, Madras-1 974 

Asthana Vtdwan Mysore Palace. 

The highly distinguished scholar-musician was the son of Rallapalle Krish- 
namacharya and Alamelu Ammal, Studied alankara and vyakarana in 
Maharajah's College for Sanskrit, Mysore and Parakala Math. Inheriting musical 
knowledge from his father, he had his training in music under 

Kari Giri Ray an, 
Chocka Rama Rao and 
Bidaram Krishnappa. 

V. ANANTARAMA AYYAR - VOCALIST: (b. Dec. 14, 1914.) 

Was born at Nagapattinam 

of T. Veeraswami Ayyar. 

Musical training under Plate Venkatarama Ayyar of Nagapattinam and 

Jagadeesa Ayyar of Talagnayar. 

Passed the higher vocal music teacher's training and served as music 
teacher in N.D. High School, Nagapattinam during 1965-1974. Has been singing 
at the Tiruvaiyaru Aradhana, etc., for over twenty years. Since 1 986 is in charge 
of the Tyagaraja Kendra, Tiruvarur. Conducts pictorial exhibition of the Trinity 
and has published books like 


Tamil Marai Isai Malar 

Sri Desika Prabhanda Isai Malar 

Bhakta Tyagaraja Musical drama, etc. - 

He plays on veena also. The Music Academy, Madras has granted a special 
pension to him for his services spanning over half a century. 



Anasuya Kulkarni is said to be proficient in Carnatic as well as Indonesian 
music in its different styles and schools having had the opportunity to learn it 
during her parents' sojourn there where Indian cultural associations in the past 
had been pronounced. She plays Carnatic music on Anklung, a bamboo instru- 
ment of Bali Isles and has demonstrated it at the Music Academy, Madras and 
elsewhere. (It is not known whether it resembles the Gettu Vadyam of 
Avadayarkoil Harihara Bhagavatar.) 

Anasuya had her training in Carnatic music under the distinguished 
R.R. Keshavamurthy and T Chowdiah. 


(Septr. 6, 1 899 - Nov. 1 9, 1 990) 

'Ullam Urugudaiya, Muruga' popularised by T.M. Soundararajan is a crisp 
soulful song favourite with people of all ages and heard at temple festivals and 
celebrations. The tune is captivating and the sahitya is full of religious fervour, 
emotional bhava and devotional rasa. Several such pieces have been so sung 
by popular musicians like O.K. Pattammal, the late renowned vocalist 
Maharajapuram Santhanam and the (late) Tirovarur Namasivayam. Diverse 
forms of compositions like andadis, pathikams, sathakams, namavalis, kirtanas, 
etc. have been brought out by her. The author of all these was Maragathavalli, 
daughter of TV. Narayana Sastri, Vakil, High Court and wife of M.G. Narasimha 
Sastri, also an advocate. 

Maragathavalli is credited with God-vision at the tender age often which set 
her on the path of devotion. Mother of four sons and two daughters, 
Maragathavalli reached the sacred Rishikesh in 1953 and Swami Sivananda 
initiated her into the order of sanyasis on March 3, 1 954 with the name of 
Andavananda Mataji, popularly known as Andavan Pichai. Of course she con- 
tinued to remain in the family - so near the family and so far detached from it . 
She is a lofty example of how family life is no hindrance to spiritual elevation as 
pointed out by Tiruvalluvar. 

Her songs are popularised by the Andavan Pichai Mandali. About fifty songs 
with notation have been published in 'Kirtanamala* and her biography has been 
brought out by the Divine Life Society. Several other books on her songs have 
been published too. Andavan Pichai's songs glitter with alliteration and metre, 
rhythm and melody. Maragavathavalli had attended no school and that makes 


her passion for Godliness and choosing the vehicle of devotional songs to attain 
the Ultimate more remarkable. Her songs are in tamil, telugu and sankskrit. 

ARIVANAR - MUSICOLOGIST : (Last Tamil Sangham Period) 

Hailed from Cettrur in Pandia kingdom or Tirucherai near Kumbakonam. 
Authored the works Pannvarrohai, Ayntogai and Panchamarabhu. The last one 
deals with music, musical instruments and dance extensively. The work has 
been republished by V.R. Deivasikhamani Gounder, Erode. 


A disciple of Kalakad Ramanarayana Bhagavatar, a senior vidwan, 
Arunachalam had further training in nagaswaram under the wizard 
T. N. Rajarathinam Pillai. Known for his melodious rendition, he was highly 
popular and was one of the most sought-after nagaswara artistes. He imbibed 
the vocal and instrumental styles and genius of his gurus. His nagaswaram play 
was captivating and exhilarating. As a boy he was making garlands of flowers 
for livelihood. After training, he presented garlands of ragas, incidentally being 
gazetted now in this book 'Another Garland 1 , a hat trick of garlands! At the height 
of his popularity, he expired, eight years after his preceptor Rajarathinam died. 

Born of Balavesam and Chellammal at Karukurichi in Tirunelveli district, he 
had initial training under his father and made his debut in his eleventh year and 
enjoyed a meteoric rise. His rendition in the disc of the film song \Singara Velane 
Deva* is a masterpiece. It is said that the cine field colossus Sivaji Ganesan 
requisitioned this gramaphone record to the Bombay Airport to satisfy his craving 
to hear it again before his departure to the West! The song set a new trend of 

vocomagaswara ensemble. 


Arunachalam was honoured posthumously by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai 
Nataka Mandram. He died prematurely at the prime of his professionah career - 
a great loss to the Art. His rendition laid emphais on soothing melody, public 
appeal and captivating delivery. 


Bhajan or drama, enters harmonium; if it is a classical concert, touch it not. 
From Tagore to the ordinary musician, harmonium was an anathema. It was 
banned from All India Radio and some institutions too. The reason is the 


instrument's inability to provide graces like continuity, curves and gamakas 
(modulations) which are sine qua non. Hemambikadas Subramania Dikshitar 
was a towering exception as he was able to coax the instrument as only he could. 
He had, as it appeared, a secret deal with it ! 

A. Arunachalappa of Karnataka was another who was famous for mastery 
and inventiveness in playing on harmonium and also violin. Hailing from a 
weaver's family and orphaned early in life, he fought his way through. Quite 
strangely he had his initial training from his football team-mate Narayanaswami 
and later Violin Puttappa coached him. As Dikshitar lent grace to the concerts 
of Flautist Palladam Sanjiva Rao, Arunachalappa gave solidity and warmth to 
the vocalist with a soaring voice, B.S. Raja Ayyangar. 'Jagadodharana' the 78 
rpm record is an evidence of it. Honnappa Bhagavatar is a disciple of 

Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya declined permission to a harmonist providing 
accompaniment to B.S. Raja Ayyangar. Later he relented and in fact honoured 
the harmonist with a gold medal. He declared, 1 had a gold medal for Ayyangar. 
After hearing Arunachalappa, I had to leave the concert for a short while to get 
another for him'. Likewise Krishnaraja Wodeyar of Mysore forgot his intense 
dislike of the instrument when he heard this artiste. 


A ragamuffin Kuchela unkempt, unwashed, entered Violin maestro Malaikottai 
Govindaswami Pillai's house and demanded , * Where is that fellow Govindaswami ?' 

The 'intruding fellow' was provoking by word and deed and was found to be a hard 
nut to be wafted away. Papa Venkataramayya, then an apprentice under Pillai, girded 
up his loins to throw the insolent old mendicant out like a marshal in legislature. As he 
neared the old man, Pillai fortunately entered. On seeing the Kuchela, he fell at his feet 
full of humility and respect ! 

Who was that 'fellow* ? 

T, Sankaran records that it was none other than Pillai's mentor, KivalurGavai 
Ramachandra Ayyar who was nonchalantly humming Devagandhari raga probably 
asking the Lord of Malaikottai ( Rockfort), as Tyagaraja did of Rama, *if Sugriva could 
be protected for his beautiful neck 'Sugriva 9 , why not he help him (Kivalur Kuchela) 
for his melodious musical voice.' 

Whether He gave succour otherwise or not, the Lord of Malaikottai did save him 
from physical assault ! 



i. Tiruvarur Kamalam, hereditary danseuse, T^agaraja temple, Tiruvarur was to make 
her debut - arangetram. Her guru Mutiiuswami Dikshitar of the Trinity, departing 
from his practice of composing only in Sanskrit, composed for her debut the pada 
varnam 'Rupamu Juchi'(Todi)wdthedaru 'NiSatiDeivamu'(Sriranjani) in praise 
of the Lord. Tiger Varadachariar composed telugu sahitya for the mukhtayi swaras 
and the swaras in the charana of the pada varnam with the skill of a bora varnakara. 
The compositions show Dikshitar y s proficiency in Bharata Sastra and his command 
over telugu. 

(T.S. Parthasarathy) 


It was Kamalam who offered her riches to relieve her guru's financial straits. Of course, 
Dikshitar would not accept it. It may be mentioned that Dikshitar called his disciples, the 
Tanjore Quartette, endearingly as 'Bharata Sreshtas' and one of them Ponnayya Pillai composed 
the 'NavaRatnaMala '(nine kritis) in his praise as an expression of gratitude. Aprominent critic, 
known for his racy comments, decried Dikshitar for taking a danseuse as a disciple. Dikshitar 
noticed her art and dedication while the critic strained his energies to see the flesh and 
bones in her. Probably the film song * Aattatthai parthidamai Aalai, Aalai parkirar ' (without 
watching the dance, stares at the person! - at the person!) applies to the genre! That is the 
difference. This is highlighted in the lives of Buddha and Sankara. 

ii. Chengalvaraya Sastri of Cheyyur gave a new *sa bda ' for each and every performance 
of his disciple Cheyyur Sarada lending 'value-added* attraction to her popular 

iii. When one of his disciples could not play on violin well in spite of all efforts, Mysore 
Chowdiah, provoked to the extreme, gave him enough money and asked him to leave. 
The disheartened pupil had left for the railway station on his way home. Chowdiah 
brooded over the boy's disappointment and his bhava - laden heart melted. He 
speeded to the station in his car and brought him back! 

iv. Naina Pillai understood the distress of Chittoor Subramania Pillai's mother. Without 
telling his disciple, he went on sending rupees ninety every month to enable his prime 
disciple to continue his apprenticeship. Naina Pillai had dozens of disciples and 
would not take a pie as fee. 

These show the basis for and the truth behind the tamil saying that "he who gave 
vidya - learning - with solicitude (day a) - is a father*. 




-April 13, 1990) 

Here is his self-assessment true to fact: 

1 A veena virtuoso of international fame whose unparalleled genius of the veena 
elevates the sou! and to whom the veena is verily almost a part of his body. ' 

Karaikudi Sambasiva Ayyar called him 'Simham' (Lion). A resume of his 
career, which S. Krishnan suspects as having been written by the Veena Maestro 
himself, provides the perfect epitaph to his glamorous life: 

1 An uncompromising traditionalist and classicist, Balachander considers protecting, 
preserving and promoting the pure values of Indian Classical music his sole aim and 
mission in his life. ' 

Veena Balachander was the most colourful personality among Classical 
Carnatic artistes, an enlightened interpreter of Indian music and a multi-dimen- 
sional personality of vast parts, deep penetration and quick conception with few 
peers. He was - 

percussionist, string artiste, mock dancer, singer, poet, 

man of letters, humourist, album collector, cine actor, playback singer, 

music composer, director, photographer, chess player, art addict and above all 

a firm believer in the sacredness of music. 

The man knows exactly what he wanted and also what he was doing... His 
mind functioned on the basis of a pure inner logic... He never swerved from his 
bhakti towards God and towards Music/ (S. Krishnan). Balachander himself had 


Balachander evolved his own style of playirig veena which was close to vocal 
rendition described as gayaki style. 

He strode like a colossus among musicians, music - lovers and others and 
he was an agnostic to criticism. An expert publicist, he never stooped to gain 
personal ends. That marks him out of the rest, He consciously placed himself 
on an elevated pedestal. That never prevented him from appreciating the good 
in others. Masculine assertiveness was part of his innate self and he departed 
at the pinnacle of his artistic expression, musical wisdom and technical wizardry. 


Was a master of manipulation of the veena in vicranti or breath-taking speed 
with intensive and unusual gamakas of absolute virtuosity. His varied life is a 
lesson to apprentices in dedication to and mastery in art. Whatever he touched 
was gold absolute, He dwarfed others by the unique personality and image he 
acquired. Veena was a humble instrument at his hands and his will prevailed 
always or was executed. 

Grandson of Rao Saheb Vaidyanatha Ayyar, author of popular works on 
Audit, Accounts and Book-keeping and son of V. Sundaram Ayyar and Parvati 
alias Chellarnmal, Balachander was born at Madras in a home which pulsated, 
buzzed and buzzled with music and musicians. Father, an advocate who forsook 
law, was a connoisseur and patron of music. Brother S. Rajam (b. 1919) has 
been a brilliant exponent of classical music. Two sisters - Jayalakshmi and 
Saraswati were good singers, Instead of litigants, musicians thronged his house 
and in this congenial environment of melody, young Balachander grew thirsting 
for acquisition of musicianship and advent. He wrote: 

11 Not having had a 'Guru 1 and (by the bountiful grace of God) being entirely self-taught, 
I wish to acknowledge that the music of certain sangeetha vidwans had tremendously 
inspired and influenced me... " 

His musical personality grew like the wild Tulasi' plant (sacred basil) in the 
classical music garden of cultured Mylapore with its magnificent temple, attrac- 
tive tank, broad Mada Streets and cultured habitation with his 'Nadu Street' at 
the centre. The temple tower beckoned him to rise up to its height and the tank 
laid bare the depths of knowledge he could make his own. The broad streets 
drew his mind to the message of Tyagaraja in 'Chakkani Rajamarga\ Musical 
precocity was evident when he began playing on kanjira providing accompani- 
ment to top artistes of the day. Started playing on harmonium, bulbul tara, tar 
shenai, dilruba, mridangam and tabla. 

S. Rajam (18) and Balachander (10) gave duet concerts all over India and 
Sri Lanka under the name 'Prabhat Prodigy Stars' and 'South Indian Prodigies 1 . 
Like Lav and Kuslav, the two fair, beautiful and talented boys were the rage of 
the day and cynosure of all eyes. When Shantaram, the eminent film director, 
presented him with a tabla, Balachander was a percussionist already. But when 
Krishna Bai presented him with an old sitar on January 16, 1938 at Karachi, it 
acted as a catalyser taking him to a different mould from percussion to string, 
rhythm to melody and accompanist to soloist. At eighteen, he switched over to 
veena and there ensued a durable, spiritual association. He was a yogi who had 
scaled the magnificent heights of sadhana on veena. He had great respect for 
Karaikudi Sambasiva Ayyar. Quite soon, he evolved and reached the zenith of 
his own - the Balachander style, He could not stoop to play for the gallery, It 
looked as if he was a divine messenger deputed to lay down norms for play and 


concerts and a code of conduct for artistes. His was pure classical play bringing 
out the exhilarating panorama and depth of raga swaroopas on veena. Like 
Ekalavya and Sarabha Sastri, he assimilated the best and built his own musical 
edifices thereon. Environment, observation and assimilation (without regular 
tuitions) probably qualified him for unique experimentation and adventure in 
quest of the unexplored frontiers of melody and classical virtuosity. He averred : 

" I have no 'guru 1 but God and 
my music-making is an act of piety. " 

' The music of some tremendously inspired and influenced me ever since 
childhood and, therefore, in everlasting esteem, the following homage is the 
expression : 

" In spite of the passing of years, 
In spite of living in an era new, 
Their music is still in my ears 
As they are the best I ever knew." ' 

One of the six stanzas in praise of Tiger Varadachariar reads: 

11 He who commanded the respect of one and all 
Was a giant in size but a soft child at heart. 
While many other musicians might rise or fall 
His glory, for eternity, will ever remain apart." 

One of the six about T.N. Rajarathinam reads: 

11 With his flight of creative imagination so stunning, 
With his great genius solidly stumped in every note, 
With his lofty ideas of improvisation ever running, 
He won all other musicians' unanimous vote ! " 

And this from the four on Tiruvalangadu Sundaresa Iyer: 

11 There was a unique Violinist whose title was 'Suswaram 1 . 
His playing was perfect, his phrases pretty and precise. 
He had a placid style so nice to derive inspiration from 
Whose speciality was rendering Ragas, pure and concise. " 

There are six stanzas on Maharajapuram Viswanatha Iyer. One reads : 

11 Discarding monotony, he never sang the same way twice - 
Every moment fresh, every note scent-sprinkled and fragrant. 
His sonorous sweet music could even melt iron, not just ice. 
He was endowed with a voice, $o rich and so very vibrant. " 

There are but three stanzas devoted to Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar 


whom he admired greatly as a person but for whose music he - elsewhere 
noted - did not have great regard. One stanza: 

" His frank heart, bigger than his body, was as pure as his ringing voice 
(While a few others have tactfully cashed-in, on all kinds of noise). 
For impeccable character, honesty and nobility, he was the first ctioice 
Who, at other's fame and success, did surely exult and rejoice." 

There have been precocious children but many a budding flower tends to fade 
out and disappear. But perennial, fresh and fresher showers descended on this 
intellectual. Whatever he touched was grand, bold and unique. 

Many noted with awe and astonishment or admiration, and some with dismay 
and disapproval, his inexplicable addiction to coax, extract or squeeze out wha 
he visualised from the veena forgetting the presence of the audience as if he 
was alone with his veena. He used to enter into an amorous soliloquy with i 
absorbed in musical perceptions and explorations impelled by a sense of tota 
surrender to artistic instincts and innovative, creative endeavours, His^ acute 
passion to seek and lay bare the depths and heights of musical excellence anc 
possibilities and portray the unlimited vistas of ragas was phenomenal, 

1 It is something like an organic thing which develops not only in their brains, but in thei 
hearts, their nerves and their viscera, something that their creative instinct evolves ou 
of the experiences of their soul and body and atlast it becomes so oppressive that the 
must rid themselves of it. ' 

This observation of Somerset Maugham fits Balachander admirably. He 
submitted himself to the pangs of delivery and the audience had to suffer then 
too since none else was willing to expose them to such noble perceptions in the 
classical field. The birth-pangs one could see in his tenacious efforts to coax i 
particular brika or curve or continuity out of the veena he loved and took to tasl 
like an angry teacher, hard-headed parent on a turbulent child. 

Made his debut at the 'Model, Hall', Mylapore as a vainika with Tiruvalangadi 
Sundaresa Ayyar and Ramnad Eswaran on violin and mridangarn respectively 
There was no occasion for the glittering artiste to look back till the Lord beckonet 
him at Bhilai. The software genius was swallowed by the Steel town. His concer 
orientation was to provide the audience what he thought they needed or shoul< 
be given. His approach was that of a father, teacher, doctor and law-giver -a 
in one and one can easily trace the inspiration for the dictum expounded by hin 
and extracted below to his staunch belief that 'music was a sacrement to hin 
and his music was totally dedicated to God'. Advaitic philosophy hails man a: 
but a phenomenon of God subject to realisation of the fact. His jealous interes 
in the rasika could easily be understood in this context. There is a spiritus 
element in it It was not their entertainment he bothered about but he was inten 


1 The rasika's love for music has no commercial angle, whereas, we musicians are paid 
to perform for them ! To us, it is certainly a commercial proposition, a commercial 
commitment !! Hence from where we sit, they are purer at heart !!! As a musician, your 
responsibility is to see that, although it is a commercial arrangement, you do not make 
your art commercial !!!! ' 

(Sruti- August 1989) 

According to Balachander, his inaugural veena concert was on November 6, 
1943. His first and last veena duet was on September 24, 1 944. It was with Prof. 
K.S. Narayanaswami Ayyar. 'I wished to enjoy full freedom as a soloist and not 
get tagged along to another and make every rendering of ours repetitive, 
monotonous and set-patterned.' He was Artiste, All India Radio for about two 
and half years during 1 942-44. Balachander gave a series of concerts with raga 
alapanas and tanams from July 9, 1967 'sans songs, sans kritis, sans neraval, 
sans fa/a, sans ga/atta, sans amali - tumali, sans sensationalism, no rest and 
no intermission' and proved that ragas alone could keep the audience fully 
engrossed. That was the Soul of Indian Music.' 

Disc recordings: 

Balachander was a remarkable recording artiste from 1 962 and emerged as 
'the Carnatic Classical musician with the longest list (25) of L.R records'. A 
musical Gavaskar or Kapil Dev or Pele! On his twelve-record series of 72 
melakarta ragas, he claimed with evident pride, 'My immortal legacy to musical 
posterity. A veritable musical treasure 1 . 

Concert Tours: 

1962 witnessed Balachander leading a team comprising flautist Ramani and 
percussionists Sivaraman and Ramabhadran calling it 'Sangeetha Madras 1 . The 
coast to coast concert tour of USA was an instant success, Then followed tours 
of France, USSR, Poland, Hungary, China, Malaysia, Singapore, Japan, South 
Korea, Sweden and Mauritius. 


He had a dynamic and brilliant career as actor, music composer, music 
director, producer and director. At the acme of his success, he left the cine 
field - a loss to the screen world, to which he had brought a fresh look 
with striking results. 


Titles & Honours: 

Quite a large number like 

Vainika Swayambu Kala Sikhamani 

Raga Brahmam Veena Yogi 

Nada Brahmam Nada Yogi 

Veena Praveena Veena Varaprasadi 

Vainika Kalanidhi Abhinava Narada 

Sangeet Natak Akademy Award in 1 977. 
D. Lit. by World Academy of Arts & Culture, Tirupati. 

Regrettably the Music Academy, Madras had not looked beyond his unique 
attitudes and independence in approach to men and matters and confer on him 
its prestigious title 'Sangita Kalanidhi' even as independent India treated Sardar 
Vallabhai Patel, Undoubtedly Balachander's musicianship was colossal. Of 
course, his music was for the elite who sought after classical finesse and 
explorations as Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar and Mani Ayyar were wont 
to do. It was not the Music Academy alone that was at fault. Even the Presiden- 
tial honours did not reach him! There was a positive unmusical approach in his 
case. It can be remedied. Why not confer the title posthumously as it was done 
to Patel. 


The life-history of S. Balachander without his crusades is Hamlet without the 
Prince. The crusades shed much light on his indomitable satyagrahic character ; 
and the tenacity with which he pursued his incursions resembled those of the 
heroes of Thermopylae and Nakkiran and Kattabhomman. That they an- 
tagonised musical hierarchy, establishments and patrons did not weigh with him; 
bigger the risk, more intense was his lone battle and unrelenting his approach. 
A veritable Hampden indeed! 

One was to prove that Swati Tirunal as a composer was a myth. He felt that 
Semmangudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar had been irresponsible in extolling the virtues 
of the erstwhile Travancore ruler in his biography of Swati Tirunal and he termed 
the unlimited tributes and claims made on behalf of the ruler as 'Swati Hoax'. In 
his 'An Open Letter dated August 16, 1985' on 'He wrote a Book and Kindled 
the Genie 5 - immaculately documented and printed, he extends his challenge. 
In pursuit of his conscience, conviction and devotion to Art and Truth, he had 
spent unlimited energy and personal funds that were scarce. Unfortunately his 
contentions were met by curses and noise and not by reasonable rebuttal that 


1 Those who spoke well of Swati Tirunal stood to benefit; 
those who did not even think of him would reap no consequence; and 
you know what happens when someone speaks ill of him ' - 

an allusion to Balachander's death (Vide Sruti Vol. 68). With his accustomed 
foresight, Balachander had averred that because of the disputation, he might 
not be conferred with the title of 'Sangita Kalanidhi' and that he might be 
excluded from playing in the Music Academy Festival ! He declared that he had 
faith in God, that he was left with just a few years and that none could debar him 
from stating the truth. He thought that the elevation of Swati Tirunal to the stature 
of the Carnatic Musical Trinity was the 'biggest musical fraud of the century 5 and 
objected to placing Swati Tirunal's photo on par with the portraits of the Trinity. 
He felt that the Music Academy had abdicated its moral duty and responsibility. 
Balachander died leaving the case to the decision of posterity. There is a tragic 
element in this. Even in his ashes cries the tragic issue. 

The other crusade related to Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna vis-a-vis his claim at 
the Music Academy, Madras that he had created new ragas. Balachander 
protested pointing out 'the lie in the claim., quoting books and references'. 
Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar concurred with his views. Dr. V. Raghavan, the 
learned Secretary of the Academy admitted that he had overlooked facts. After 
deliberations, the Experts Advisory Committee of the Academy negated in effect 
Balamurali Krishna's claim. (Sruti). 

The multi-faceted vainika had left eight albums with over a thousand pages 
of 19.75" x 14.5" containing a mine of information on his life of turbulent grace. 
Grandeur impregranted with celestial fire is eternally impatient and searches for 
greener fields for achievement. 'One does not fall into Love; One rises to it', said 
Tim Piggot Smith. Even so, Balachander rose to love music and his impres- 
sionable life was a model of passionate dedication to art; he stayed at the dizzy 
heights he chose and reached while yet a boy. He is a classic example of 
emotional integration and total identity with true art. He died on the eve of the 
Tamil New Year Day. (Pramoduta). 

That Tamil New Year eve brought gloom 
To ardent lovers of Music and Arts 
When thy ardent, unquenchable fires 
And radiant vigour were sniffed out. 

O Strong Soul, by what shore 
Tarriest thou now? Sure that force, 
Has not been left in vain. 
In the resounding melody-house, vast 
And virtuous is practised that strength 
Zealous, beneficent, firm ! 

(After Mathew Arnold) 



P. Balakrishnan had his musical training under Tanjore K, Ponniah Pillai, a 
descendant of the famous Tanjore Quartette. He had a distinguished career as 

Principal, Sri Venkateshwara College of Music Dance, Tirupati 

Professor, Vice Principal and 

Principal - in - charge, Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras. 

Balakrishnan has done research in instrumental music. 

Disc Recordings: 

* * * 

T.R. BALAMANI - VOCALIST; (b.December 31, 1937) 

Place of birth Parakulam, Kerala. 

Parents T,S. Ramanatha Iyer & Pachainayaki Ammal. 

Musical training under Tirupunithura Narayana Bhagavatar 

Passed Sangeetha Vidwan course at the 
Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras. 

Debut 1 948 at Tirupunithura 

Post held Faculty member, Bharatiya Fine Arts Society 

Music School, Bombay for a decade till 1 975. 

She has given concerts in Bombay, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh and on the 
All India Radio and has set to tune compositions in many languages. Has been 
training many disciples. 'A studied solidity, firm laya command and technical 
and aesthetical improvisation mark her style combining an innate rapport with 
musical science and art', writes Dr. Sulochana Rajendran in Shanmukha. 

Dikshitar recommended ! 

Veena Balachander played the catalytic role in getting the postal stamp issued to commemorate 
the birth centenary of Muthuswami Dikshitar. He wrote to Justice V.R. Krishna Ayyar and the 
latter interceded with the Central Minister and got it approved. Innocent Dikshi tar's case too 
has to seek recommendations! 

(Source: SrutL) 

Note: As the Collector of the district, the author sponsored a commemoration stamp to honour the 
sanctified memory of Vallalar of Vadalur, Sri Ramalinga Swamigal. Being an official, he did 
not go to enlist outside help. Result? 

9 Man will do the rational thing ' but, more often, after the grace of doing it in time is lost. This 
is so in all good cases and all good causes. It is perhaps a curse! 



(b July 6, 1930) 

1 Sruti ? No tambur is necessary for me ! ' 
1 Laya ? No beats are needed either ! ' 

1 Ask not for this music or that; I have them not: 
Baiamurali music have I, Sit down, trim thy mind ; and lend thy ears. ' 

That is Dr. Baiamurali Krishna, a multi-dimensional genius who has left no 
segment of the finest of fine arts untouched. His contribution to Classical 
Carnatic music, light music and screen spread over half a century has been 
immense, substantial and unique. Dynamism with creativity, avante garde 
without overt emphasis - and all within the ample portals of the vast mansion of 
classicism and its hoary traditions - mark his rendition. Romantic brilliance and 
aesthetic appeal combine to present and provide warmth and the listener gets 
dissolved in cascading lakshya-based melody and scintillating rendition. His 
tonal artifices and effortless delivery bhava-Iaden and peppered with subtleties 
confer such solace and satisfaction that one is tempted to invoke the Atharva 
Veda(XCII) hymn: 

'Sing. Sing ye forth your songs of praise/ 

The scintillating vicranti has the effect of musical therapy, which 
Dr, B. Ramamurthi, the celebrated neuro surgeon has elaborated in this author's 
book 'A Garland; Dr. Baiamurali has thus a legitimate claim to the doctorate 
though it came to him honoris causa. Soothing melody is his forte. The artistic 
web he weaves out in his inimitable style leaves the audience spell-bound. His 
pronunciation of the sahitya is as matchless as that of K.B. Sundarambal in tamii. 
Nightingale is celebrated for its forays in melody only at nights but Balamurali's 
suffers no such inhibition. Notwithstanding his sobre years, the youthful vigour 
of his music substantiates his name 'Bala' or vice versa. 

Born at Sankaraguptam in Andhra Pradesh, 

of Pattabhiramiah, a Sanskrit pandit and 

Suryakantam, a veena artiste, 

He learnt music without much of guru-sishya pattern save a brief spell of six 
months with Parupalli Ramakrishniah Pantulu. A child prodigy, his expertise is 
the fruit of native wisdom and 'swayam krishi'. It blossomed like the self-grown 
flower plant at a hill station blessed with varied hues and invested with 
fascinating fragrance assimilating the dictum of Wordsworth that self reverence 
and self-knowledge lead life to sovereign power. 

Baiamurali Krishna made his debut at Vijayawada at the Aradhana of his 
guru's guru Susarla Dakshinamoorthy Sastri in 1938. The boy was given just 
thirty minutes to sing but he stole five times that since the thrilled audience was 


incapable of cutting itself away from the cascading sweet virgin melody. By the 
age of nine, he was an adept on viola, violin, mridangam and kanjira. His first 
radio concert was in 1939. As a violinist he had accompanied stalwarts like 
Ariyakudi, Chembai, Maharajapuram,GNBandParupalli. A pioneer of the morn 
broadcasts 'Bhakti Manjari', he was a constant top ranker with All India Radio 
and Doordarshan as artiste, producer, conductor and participant in classical 
and quasi-classical programmes. Has given jugalbandis and solo vocals without 
accompanists. Reminiscent of old masters, he would give the audience intervals 
at concerts ! 

In the realm of films, he took the appropriate role of Narada in Bala Prahlada 
but his contribution and image in film-music are solid as playback singer, 
composer, conductor and director in telugu, kannada and malayalam pictures. 

Composition : 

An original musician, Balamurali Krishna is an outstanding composer of 
about 300 kritis, varnams, tillanas, etc,, from his fourteenth year. Several of his 
pieces are popular. On the inspiration of Swami Vimalananda of Kuttalam Mutt, 
he composed and later perfected seventy-two songs in seventy-two melakarta 
ragas in Sanskrit and telugu and has published them. 'Murali' is his mudra. Has 
created new ragas and talas. (Chancing upon a particular claim in the souvenir 
of the Music Academy, Madras, Veena Balachander protested quoting books 
and authorities and it is said that the objection was once upheld. The permuta- 
tions and combinations in the raga schemes are so insurmountable, that isolated 
errors are inherent in the limitless scheme). The popular Doctor is a serious 
promoter of his compositions unlike Patnam Subramania Ayyar and 
G.N. Balasubramaniam. 

Concert Tours abroad: 

His style and melody are in heavy demand in the fertile alien soils. His tours 

U.S.A. Canada France 

Italy Singapore U.S.S.R. 

Malaysia and Sri Lanka 

Posts held: 

Artiste, All India Radio, Vijayawada 1 952 

Music Producer 1 954 

Principal, Music Colleges, Vijayawada and Hyderabad. 
Adviser, Bharath Cultural Integration Committee 


President, Madras Telugu Academy, 

State Musician, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh 

President, Andhra Pradesh Sangeeta Academy, etc. 


1 Janaka Raga Kriti Manjari ' . 

Disc recordings: 

A colossal number, 'Raganga Ravali' cassettes cover his melaraga compositions. 

Titles & Honours: 

Among the bagfuls, the following call for mention: 

Presidential Medal 1 953 

Padma Sri by President 1 971 

Award by Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi 1 975 

Sangita Kalanidhi by the Music Academy, Madras 1 975 

Sur Singar by Sangeeth Peeth, Bombay 

Doctorate (Honoris Causa) by Andhra University 

National Award for Best Music Director 1 975 

Karnataka Award for Best Music Director 1 976 

National Award for Best Male playback singer 1 987 

Kasturi Rajaram Award 

Honorary Citizenship, Vijayawada 

Padma Vibhushan by President of India 

Sangita Kala Nipuna by Mylapore Fine Arts Society 1 987 

Award by Dinanath Smruti Pratishtan 1 991 

Sangita Kala Sikhamani by Indian Fine Arts Society 1 991 

Gayaka Ratnam by Sri Swati Tlrunal Sangeetha 

Sabha 1 992 

Saptagiri Sangita Vidwanmani by Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati 1 992 

His career has been a never-ending round of victories. A genius with 
glittering success. The buoyancy of his music is infectious and in truth, he is a 
Master of Melody. A penetrating experimenter of depth and easy delivery, he 
floods his concerts with the finer nuances of music and gliding melody with 
ever-fresh, invigorating phrases which expose the listener to the dazzling 
panorama of lakshya - lakshana music. 


Place of birth : Tittacheri near Nannilam. 

Father : SubramaniaAyyar 

Musical training under : Needamangalarn Krishnamurti Bhagavatar of 

Uthukadu family and 
Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai, a famous violinist 


In her thirteenth year, Baiasaraswati made her debut and has been providing 
accompaniment to musicians. 

She has composed tamil kritis on Swamy Gnanananda Swamigai of 
Tirukoilur and on Soundarya LaharL She is described as a good violinist 

T. BALASARASWATI - ABHINAYA MAESTRO: (May 13, 1918 - Feb.9, 1984) 

' She was like a fabulous flower. Her abhinaya floated in the music. Her expressions were 
arresting and soul-satisfying. Her hands were poetic like creepers. Dignity, suggestive 
restraint and synchronisation of melody, rhythm, expression, all were mastered.' 

Yamini Krishnamurti. 

T. Baiasaraswati had the immense wealth of legacy of musical and artistic 
talents being the grand daughter of the legendary Veena Dhanamma! and 
daughter of Jayammal and Govindarajuiu. Had her training under Kandappa 
Pillai, Chinnayya Naidu and Vedantam Lakshminarasimha Sastri. Graceful in 
personality, endowed with a musical voice and blessed with a body that was 
specially moulded for abhinaya to bring out the 'eloquent bhavas and rasas of 
diverse emotions and compositions, Baiasaraswati was on the stage in her teens 
and was the cynosure of the cognoscenti \ recollect that at the All India Congress 
Exhibition held at Royapettah in 1935 or so, S. Satyamurti gave glowing tributes 
to her talents and she was then just seventeen. She was very cultured. She 
would sing well while dancing. ' The bhava or the attitude of Sringara was for 
Bala the soul of bharata natya. 1 Musician-Artist S. Rajam said that Bala should 
be included in this book as she was a good musician too. 

Here are some excerpts of some of her learned dissertations: 

' Sringara stands supreme in the range of emotions. No other emotion is capable of 
reflecting the mystic union of the human with the divine. ' 

' The feet keeping to time, hands expressing gesture, the eye following the hands with 
expression, the ear listening to the dance master's music and the dancer's own singing 
- by harmonising these five elements, the mind achieves concentration and attains cianty 
in the richness of participation. The inner feeling of the dancer is the sixth sense which 
harnesses these five mental and physical elements to create the experience and 
enjoyment of Beauty. It is the spark which gives the dancer her sense of spiritual 
freedom. The spectator, who is absorbed in intently watching this, has his mind freed of 
distractions and feels a great sense of clarity. In their shared involvement, the dancer 
and the spectator are both released from the- burden of worldly life and experience the 
divine joy of the Art with a sense of total freedom. 1 

There could not be a better classic elucidation. Ancestral artistic affluence, 
innate talents combined in Baiasaraswati to command wide popularity, respect 
and image. Her orchestra included Jayammal and Lakshmiratnammal, besides 


Choristers Narasimhalu Naidu and Gnanasundaram, Mridangam Ranganathan 
and Kuppuswami Mudaliar, Flute T. Viswanathan (now a Sangita Kalanidhi) and 
Clarinet Radhakrishna Naidu. 

Concert Tours : Japan 1961 

USA 1962 

UK 1963 

Europe and USA 1 965 

She had conducted a Summer School in San Francisco; 
has choreographed Sarabhendra Bhupala KuravanjS ; 
and was Director, School of Dance, Music Academy, 

Publication : Bharatanatyam 

Honours & Titles : Sangeet Natak Akademy Award 1 955 

Padma Bhushan 1 957 

Padma Vibhushan 

Hony. Doctoral degree by Rabhindra 

Bharati University 1 964 

Sangita Kalanidhi by Music Academy, Madras 1973 

Hony. Degree of Desikothama (D. Lit.) 

by Viswa Bharati, Shantiniketan 1 978 

The Oscar Award-holder the late lamented Bharat Ratna Satyajit Ray had 
brought out a documentary titled 'BALA', a rare tribute indeed. 

The rigour of the discipline of dance is annulled by the joy of its Beauty/ 

What an epigrammatist she was ! 


A post-graduate in mathematics, Balasubramanian had his training in music 
with his father K.A. Kasi Bhagavatar and M.Chandrasekharan, the prominent 
violinist. He had taken part in several music competitions held by the Music 
Academy and the Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras and got awards. Accompanies 
senior artistes with competency and is a Staff Artiste with the All India Radio, 

Concert tour : U.S.A. 


Place of birth : Dindigul (famous for its lock industry !) 

Parents ; L Meenakshisundaram Iyer and Anandavalli Ammal. 


General qualification & B.A., B.T. Teacher, P.S. High School (North), Madras - 
Occupation. : since retired. 

Training in music : Nagaswara Vidwan Ramachandra Reddiar - five years. 

Dr. M. Balamurali Krishna - 20 years from 1 963. 

Debut : At Nagpur for Nagpur Fine Arts on February 24, 1 968. 

Title : Ganakaladhara from SDSB Samaj, Arani. 

Has been giving performances for the All India Radio, Sabhas and Doordar- 
shan (Pamalai and Isai Arangam programmes). Born in a family of musicians 
and musical discoursers, Madurai Balasubramaniam has a special inclination 
for rare ragas and compositions and in his presentation of songs, he lays clear 
emphasis on the meaning of the sahitya, i.e. the sahitya bhava. 


Born at Tiruvarur, sanctified by the birth of the Carnatic Trinity, in a musical 
family, S. Balasubramaniam had his initial training both in vocal and in violin 
under his father-violinist, S, Subba Ayyar, He had further intensive training 
under distinguished masters, viz., 

Madurai Brothers (Srinivasa Ayyangar and Srirangam Ayyangar) for about 5 years, 
Srirangam Ayyangar - advanced studies, 

Madurai Mani Ayyar - special compositions and 

Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai - on violin expertise. 

Balasubramian has been giving vocal concerts on the All India Radio and 
elsewhere and has also served as Professor in Violin at the Kalakshetra during 
1990-1992. He has been training many disciples. 

BASAVANNA - COMPOSER; (b- 1125. A.D.) 

Son of Madarasa and Madulambika and nephew of Baladeva, Prime Minister 
to King Vijjala of the Kalyani Chalukyas, Vrishabheshwara, as Basavanna was 
initially called, had his studies under Jathaveda Muni and grew up fast in wisdom 
and original thinking. Born in a brahmin family of some influence at 
Basavanabagewadi in Bijapur district, he chose to become a Koodalsangama 
devotee and promoted Veera Saiva cult with vigour. He too became a minister 
under Vijjala but left it to pursue his religious inclinations and propagate Bakthi 
and Achara. His compositions known as "Basava Vachanas' are couched in 
easy, facile language and enjoy in kannada the importance given to Vemanna 
V/ac/?a/?ainteIugu and Tirukkural \ntam\\. His signature was 'Koodala Sangama 
Deva' and he is also called as Bhakti Bhandari and Jagat jyothi. 


The late Mallikarjun Mansur is reputed to have adapted vachanas for his 
classical music concerts and made them popular. His concerts would bring in 
at least one of them. 


VENKATESH (b . 1933) 

SESHAGiRI (b. 1935) 

Father Raghavendrachar hailed from a family of Pauranikas - discoursers 
on ancient spiritual lore, Narasimhachar, the eldest son learnt music from his 
father and, in his turn, taught the youngsters Venkatesh and Seshagiri. 
Raghavendrachar was a musician with pedagogic talents and was Music 
Teacher, Queen Mary's College, Madras and was later President, 
Rayalaseema Music Examination Board. 

Venkatesh and Seshagiri were fourteen and twelve when they made their 
debut and have been giving concerts on the All India Radio and at other places. 
They are noted for their innovative raga elaboration and traditional expertise. 
Seshagiri later joined the Bangalore University as Professor. 


Indian Music and Dance have a hoary antiquity with an unending chain of 
musicologists and musicians drawing inspiration initially from Sama Veda. It is 
relevant to mention that there seems to have been another musicologist of 
eminence bearing the same name in ancient Tamil Nadu, which has had an 
equally ancient musical system from pre-historic times. When Indian music 
slowly came under the influence of the Persian from the eleventh century, Indian 
musical system came to be confined to South India. Though both the North 
and the South have still the same raga-oriented music, North has the Hindustani 
style and the South has the Carnatic style. ('Carnatic' is a word which means 
ancient or peninsular India.) Successive musicologists have not only codified 
prevailing theory and practice but have injected improvements, precision and 
clarity. Ravages of time and distance, successive invasions by unmusical 
hordes and wanton criminal destruction and looting of art, architecture, sculpture 
and sacred and irreplaceable works have gone on from the 11th to the 19th 
century resulting in the loss of precious treasures of ageless worth. In their 
anxiety to save sacred gifts from the marauding tribes, several works were 
secreted in the labyrinthine bosom of gardens, temples and maths and ultimately 
lost track of and lost Fortunately India had developed the proud asset of oral 


transmission of scriptures, etc., and the unique system had helped in preserving 
the extant works. This was aided by another, the unique system of gurukuiavasa 
and the few surviving isolated manuscripts had been preserved by knowledge- 
able men, 

Bharata Sastra (named after its author) or the Natya Sastra is the earliest 
such treasure that is available. Thirty-six chapters, six thousand couplets in 
Sanskrit and a few passages in prose present matchless evidence of the highly 
developed art then. Chapters 28 to 33 are on music and the rest are on dance. 
1648 slokas deal with music, tala, etc., as applied to drama. He has taken the 
plots for dramas from Rig Veda, music from Sama Veda, acting from Yajur Veda 
and aesthetics from Atharva Veda. It is evident that drama with music had 
flourished in the Vedic period. Bharata has arranged 22 shrutis on the basis of 
the five basic minutae tones terming them as '/arts' or 'adharas'oi the 22 shrutis. 
R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar observes; 

1 Bharata was a fountain of knowledge, a rare genius who became a legendary figure 
with a hundred sons to propagate Natya Sastra. In the light of a popular belief that the 
work was a synthesis of several contributors, the author's name being only a mnemonic 
for Bhava, Raga and Tala... Written 2500 years ago, it is the document of supreme 
educative value. The overall picture of music in Natya Sastra has apparently not much 
in common with Carnatic Music of the present day,,. It was left to Sarngadeva to 
resuscitate it after eighteen centuries, ' 

Note: Mention of the hundred sons should presumably mean only a 
hundred disciples since Indian scriptures extol good disciples as sons of the 
guru. It would seem that Bharata would not have challenged 
Dhritarashtra's title and eminence in the matter of the number of children! 

FLS. Nagar pointedly brings to notice that Natya Sastra was not available to 
modern scholars until it was discovered by Fitz Edward Hall, an American 
Indologist in 1865 and thus saved the great work from oblivion, H.H. Wilson, 
unable to secure the Natya Sastra, deplored earlier that the work, so honoured 
and so frequently, had been lost for ever. That has been the bane of vandalism 
of man and time. 

Some later writers have made reference to Adi Bharata or Vrddhabharata. 
Abhinavagupta is said to have discarded the idea of composite authorship 
stating that the whole work was the work of one and only author. S.K. Dey has, 
however, opined that the work was completed or recast at some later date in 
accordance with the views of Nandikeswara. M.R. Kavi had remarked that- 
Bharata's work had undergone much variations and Abhinavabharati itself 
mentions that there were two recensions of the Natya Sastra. In view of the fact 
that it is the oldest known work of considerable repute and authority, it is possible 
that minor interpolations had crept in as in the case of many other works and 
compositions. But, as Prof. R. Sathyanarayan& says, 


1 In view of the reference to Bharata reverentially as a Muni and as Bhagavan by such 
eminent authorities as Matanga, Sarngadeva, Simha Bhupala and Kallinadha, doubts 
about the integrity of the work do not appear to be valid. Literary evidence and unity in 
planning and presentation suggest only a single authorship'. 

Bharata is known to tradition as Sutrakara. 

TIRUVIDAIMARUDUR BHAVAN1 - VOCALIST; (20th Century - 1 half.) 

Bhavani took to music at the late age of twenty-five but rose up to the top 
soon. High-pitched voice, fast-moving rendition, enormous capability for load- 
ing her rendition with birkas and 'akaram' marked her concerts and she would 
cover songs in different languages and revel in tillana. Her ringing voice was 
her forte. She is credited with introducing kannada javalis at concerts in India . 


A contemporary of Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Pallavi Bhimachar was a 
disciple of Andananallur Subbier. His son and disciple Srinivasa Rao specialised 
in singing Dasar Padas and was famous for it. Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha 
Bhagavatar writes that Bhimachar excelled in his rendition of pallavis and that 
he was very popular. Bhimachar hailed from Tiruchirappalli district. 


Son of K.Y. Pillayya, a tabla vidwan, Bhuvanaswamayya had his training in 
music under Pudukottai Subramania Ayyar, Chintlapalli Venkata Rao and his 
son Ramachandra Rao. Illness at the age of sixteen forced him to take to violin. 
Had his training under the senior violinist R.R. Keshavamurty and his first 
concert was at the Rama Mandira started by Bidaram Krishnappa at Mysore. 
Bhuvanaswamayya has provided accompaniment to distinguished vocalists like 
Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar and Alathur Brothers and the violinist maestro 
T. Chowdiah. He has been appearing on the All India Radio since his twenty- 
second year. Known for his rich, innovative play and pleasing sound, he has 
helped many good and great causes. He was always interested in keeping his 
receptive musical inclinations open to listen and assimilate the best in others. 

Concert tours : Singapore and Malaysia. 


T. BRINDA - VOCALIST & VAINIKA: (b. November 5, 1912) 

Grand daughter of the legendary vainika, Dhanammal and daughter of 
Kamaikshi Ammal, Brinda was bred in the evergreen nursery of vibrant clas- 
sicism in Carnatic music. Imbibed the Dhanam tradition of melody from 
Dhanammal herself and her daughters. She is the eloquent inheritor of its grace 
and charm. This view finds support from the fact that the institution 
'Sampradaya' arranged for a six months' special training course at Madras on 
Dhanam Classical tradition to be handled by T. Brinda and T. Viswanathan, a 
scion of the same nursery. She had absorbed enough music at home to elaborate 
ragas when at the age of nine she entered on gurukulavasa under Kanchipuram 
Naina Pillai. Mukta, her younger sister accompanied. But 'actually Brinda learnt 

directly from the maestro and Mukta kept the sruti (harmonium)'. Mukta says: 


Grandmother Dhanammai was none too pleased at our being sent to Naina Pillai as if 
no music was available at home. Further Dhanammal's music was like honeyfall, soft 
and sweet and she wanted our music to be soft and feminine. She disliked women 
indulging in swara fireworks and feared that it would happen if we learnt music under 
Pillai. ' 

Brinda made her debut with Mukta as support at the Tyagaraja Festival, 
Kanchipuram which was celebrated annually by Naina Pillai. Though Mukta did 
not undergo the rigorous training, she had assimilated enough by constantly 
hearing the master and his ward (Brinda) and the Brinda-Mukta combine was 
a prominent duo for four decades, till Brinda's daughter and vocalist, 
Vegavauhini joined to sing with Brinda. Thus Brinda has over seventy years' 
solid credit as a performing artiste of merit. She enjoys a vast repertoire of kritis, 
padas and javalis and several claim to have studied under her though some of 
the claims might not conform to fact, it is said. 

For exquisite rendition of padams, Brinda has a name and for the Music 
Academy, Madras, she brought out a publication of javalis in 1 965 but she feels 
that several performing artistes do not adhere to the proper paddhati. Semman- 
gudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar states that when Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangarand he 
heard Brinda once, the former said, 

' When women sing padams, it is mellifluous ; 
See, how beautifully Brinda has handled them ! ' 

Ayyar could not stop with the joy of hearing. At the suggestion of the 
Maharani of Travancore, he learnt in three days three javalis and three padams 
from Brinda! (Three is Ayyar's lucky number perhaps!) Here is another tribute 
from another veteran, R. Vedavalli who states that her guru Mudicondan 
Venkatarama Ayyar used to tell his disciples, 

' See, how Brinda keeps her voice sweet inspite of advancing age. 
You should take a lesson from her. ' 


These tributes to Brinda's musical expertise and acumen find reflection in 
the titles and honours conferred on her. 

Titles & Honours : Sangit Natak Akademy Award -1965 

Sangita Kalanidhi from Music Academy, Madras -1977 
Sanglta Sikhamani from Indian Fine Arts Society, 


Swaralaya Pushkaram by Pushkaram 1 992 

Posts held : Professor, Central College of Camatic Music, Madras 


Visiting Professor, University of Washington, Seattle, 

USA -Two terms 
Visiting Professor, California University, U.S.A. - 

Two months. 

Brinda has given concerts in U.S.A. and she was not interested in giving 
discs. She has been training many in Veena also. 


The concert was on. 

* I wonder why the vocalist exhibits his teeth so often ! * 
6 Gratitude! Concert sponsored by a Tooth Brush company. ' 

* * it 


Rehearsal was on. The second violinist inadvertently grazed the string next to the one 
he intended to play. It was almost inaudible. But Toscanini, the conductor stopped the 
orchestra, pointed his baton at the culprit and cried out sharply 

* One string will be quite enough, if you please/ 
(Sruti suddham, apaswarain, sruti bhedam rarely escape the keen ear of stalwarts.) 

* * * 

American composer George Gershwin died. A sentimental admirer wrote an elegy 
and rendered the piece before Oscar Levant for his approbation. How was it given? 

* I think it would have been better if you were dead and 
Gershwin had written the elegy ! '. 



'Mysore Brothers 1 are prominent torch-bearers of Carnatic music and 
Chandrasekhariah is the eldest. Father B. Ramaiah was a vidwan; and mother, 
Vidushi Varalakshmi was his guru. She was a vainika and vocalist, in grateful 
memory of her, Chandrasekhariah and his brother founded in 1945 'Sri 
Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts', Mysore providing facilities for trainjng in 
music. Born at Mysore he had training under Pallavi Ramalingayya also and 
has been giving numerous concerts as one of Mysore Brothers ever since he 
made his debut in 1929 at the Mysore Jain Hostel. Was giving concerts on the 
All India Radio during 1 937 to 1 965. An expert in pallavi singing, he had taught 
music through the Academies to thousands of pupils including foreigners. 
Prof. Visweswaran, his brother, is referred to at page 438 of 'A Garland '. 
Another brother is Dr. R, Sathyanarayana, a musicologist. 

Chandrasekhariah is also a reputed composer of about three hundred kritis, 
tillanas, etc., in kannada, telugu and Sanskrit besides the 'One hundred and eight 
Mahamarga Tala Pallavi' He sang and demonstrated it himself at Madras, etc. 
Dr. Sampathkumaracharya describes him as one of the foremost of vag- 
geyakaras and musicians. His compositions are brought out in seven samputas, 
the first four having been released. 

Chandrasekhariah was / is naturally connected with various organisations 
such as: 

The Central Sangeet Natak Akademy 

State Sangeetha Natak Academy 

Government of Kamataka Advisory Board on Music, Drama & Dance 

Chairman, Music Vidwat Examinations. 

Titles and Honours : 

It is a hefty list, the eminent composer-artiste having graced many conferen- 
ces, etc. More important among them are : 

Natya Sastra Kovida All India Natya Kala Conference 1 957 

Asthana Vidwan Mysore State 1 973 

Gana Vidya Vachaspati Brahma Tantra Parakala Maha Samsthanam 1 974 

Sangeetha Choodamanl Kanchana Vidwat Sabha 1 974 

Sangeetha Ratnakara H. H. Sankaracharya, Sringeri 1 974 

Sangeetha Saraswati Avani Sringeri Sankaracharya 1 975 

Sangeetha Sudhakara Akhila Karnataka Musicians' Sanmana Samithi 1 98O 

Gana Ratnakara Sri Vasudevacharya Sangeetha Sammelana 1 981 

Sangeetha Kala Thilaka State Academy Award 1 982 

Samvit Sangeeth Kalasekhara H.H. Sankaracharya Kashi Dakshinamurti Peeta 1983 

__ Sangeetha Kala Nidhi Sangeetha Nrtya Parishat of Karnataka 1 985 

Kala Bhooshana 1 6th Conference of Tyagaraja Ganasabha, 

Bangalore. 1 987 

Award Karnataka Nrtya Academy 1 991 -92 

Concert Tours: 

U.K., Europe. (Concerts and discourses on Indian Music and Culture,) 


P.T. CHELLADURAI S.J. - MUSICOLOGIST (b. August 16, 1935) 

Place of birth ; A Sivagangai 

Parents : V. Ignatius & Thomai Ponnamal 

Academic M.A., B.T. and D.Lit from Diandra University (Italy) 

Qualifications : 

Musical Training ; Diploma in Indian Music, University of Madras (1 969-71) 

Sangita Vidwan Diploma, Tamil Nadu Government 
Music College (1974-76) 

Cheiladurai is a disciple of Tiruppamburam S. Shanmughasundaram, Prin- 
cipal, Government Music Training Centre, Madras. A Catholic priest of the 
Society of Jesus, he made his debut at St. Bede's Auditorium, Madras on June 
11, 1971 in the presence of Prof. P. Sambamurti. He is Assistant Professor of 
Musicology and Musical Pedagogy in the Tamil Nadu Government Music Train- 
ing Centre, Madras since 1984. Earlier he was part-time Principal, Evening 
Music Course of the same institution during 1982-84 and Research Scholar in 
Music under the Tamil Nadu Government during 1983-84. 

Cheiladurai has authored two good and very useful books: 

i. Tennaga Isai Eyal for the benefit of teachers and students of music, 
ii. The Splendour of South Indian Music for the benefit of University students. 

The first book has received a State Award. 

He has the credit of bringing out three cassettes presenting Christian bhajans 
and keerthanas in 1980-81 all set in classical tunes. He conducts a Summer 
School of Carnatic Music since 1 974. 


Father : Mantri Sampathkumarachariar of Melukottai. 

Musical training : Started his training with his father in his ninth year. 

Then from his fifteenth year, underwent training with the 
famous Namakkal Narasimha Ayyangar's disciple 
Ramaswami Ayyangar at Tanjore and then with Bidaram 
Krishnappa. Finally he took the Sangita Bhushanam 
diploma from the Annamalai University in 1934. 

Chellapillai lyengar was not only a good vocalist but was also a good teacher. 
Has been contributing articles on music. He popularised the singing of the 
Navavarna kritis during the Navarathiri at Mysore and the practice acquired 
permanence under instructions of the Maharajah. During 1 942-75, the vocalist 
was working with the Akashvani as artiste. T.N. Seshagopalan is said to be his 




'His singing is ever reverberating in my ears. An able teacher in theory and 
practice of music', said Varadachariar, of N. Chennakesaviah, son and disciple 
of Natanahalli Kesaviah, a musician. 

Chennakesaviah underwent training later with Mysore K.Vasudevacharya 
and made his debut in 1924. He was a school teacher but this profession only 
helped in shaping his destiny in music on firm lines. He had given concerts on 
the All India Radio and at important places in India. He was Samasthana 
Vidwan, Mysore during 1944-1 957, when the Palace discontinued the system of 
patronage as a measure of economy. Chennakesaviah was Member of the All 
India Radio Audition Board, Board of Examiners and the Experts Committee of 
the Music Academy, Madras. 

Compositions & Publications: 

He has composed many songs and has published seventeen of them with 
notation. Has published many articles and books on Raga Alapana Paddhati 
and Tana Mattu Pallavi and on the compositions of Mysore Sadashiva Rao. He 
was a regular contributor to the Journal of the Music Academy, Madras. 

Titles & Honours: 

Mysore State Sangeetha Nataka Academy Award 1 968 

Mysore State Rajyotsava Award 1 971 


Karur has inherited a distinguished musical legacy. The eminent composer 
Kavi Mathrubhutayya, author of the opera 'Parijathapaharana Nataka' started a 
distinguished line of violinists, Chinnaswami Ayyar, a grandson on the maternal 
side inherited a musical legacy on his father's side too. Father Narasayya was 
a violin vidwan. Chinnaswami Ayyar learnt violin from his brother Chinna 
Devudu Ayyar of the Karur Quartette. A staunch sampradaya vidwan, he had 
accompanied top artistes. Two Sangita Kalanidhis ( his son and renowned 
violinist Papa Venkataramiah and Musiri Subramania Ayyar) were among his 

The Music Academy, Madras conferred on him the title of 'Sangita Kalanidhi' 
in 1 950. Sangeet Natak Akademy Award was conferred in 1 966. 



The play of Das Swamigal resembled the style of Narayanaswami Appa. 
Supremely independent and rough, he treated Man and Money alike - perhaps 
a virtue by itself. Prone to paraphernalia in harmony with his character, he would 
play with such subtlety and mischievous digressions and perplexing permuta- 
tions that his accompaniment was taken to mean 'Caveat Musician'. When he 
is not that usual self, his play was remarkably good. When he once accom- 
panied Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar, his play was deeply appreciated by Pan- 
dithurai Thevar of Ramnad and he was presented with a diamond ring. 

DATTILA - MUSICOLOGIST: (c. 200 B-C. - 200 A.D.) 

Dattila is said to be a dimunitive of Devadatta, In his work Vattilam', he 
mentions Narada, Kohala and Visakhila as his preceptors. (Dattila is named as 
a son of Bharata, it is said, in Natya S&stra.) The exact period of Dattila is not 
known. Dattilam has been translated into hindi by Kalinda published from 
Hathras. There is another titled Dattilam - A Compendium of Ancient Indian 
Music' by Emmie Te Nijenhuis of Netherlands. Mukund Lath has again brought 
out the work with full commentaries in 1978-lmpex India, New Delhi. A small 
work in aphoristic form called Ragasagaram specifically deals with Gandharva 
Vedasaram, i.e., the area of ancient music called 'Gandharva 1 a sacred form 
stated to be born of Sama. While Natya Sastra treats Gandharva as one of the 
forms, Dattilam is an independent treatise on it alone. An expert in the science 
of tala, Dattila is widely quoted. Prof. R. Satyanarayana states that Dattilam is 
only a condensation and that the original should have been very elaborate. 


A contemporary of King Shahaji of Tanjore, Devaraja Wodeyar of Mysore 
was a veena artiste. He brought out the tenets of Sri Vaishnava faith in his 
kannada saptapadi 'Gitagopala' on the model of the ashtapadi 'Gita Govinda' 
with 82 kannada songs and one in telugu. Kamboji was his favourite raga with 
27 songs. He was hailed as 'Aparimita' and as 'Navakoti Narayana'. 




They belonged to Syama Sastri disciple-line. Kamakshi Ammal was 
Kanchipuram Naina Pillai's mother and T. Mukta's guru in a way. The sisters had 
powerful resonant voice and their concerts were gripping and popular. Puducheri 
Rangaswami Ayyar gave them advanced training in the intricaies and nuances 
of rendition at concerts. They were adepts in pallavi rendition - a rare feat for 
musicians of the fair sex. They enjoyed an immense repertoire. 


(b. JuneS, 1899) 

Place of birth : Nyamathi in Karnataka 

Parents : B,S. Ramaiah & Thulasamma 

Musical training under : B.S. Ramaiah, Bidaram Krishnappa, Seshanna, 

Subbanna & T. Narayana lyengar a galaxy of eminent 
vocalists and vainikas. 

Posts held : ; Chairman, Standing Committee, Mysore Sangeet Natak 


Member, Board of Studies in Music, Mysore University , 
Court Musician, Mysore. 

Publications ; Purandaradasa Kriti Darpana 

Kanakadasa Kirtana Sudambhudi. 
Concert tour : China 

Honours ; Sangeet Natak Akademy Award. 

Publications : Songs of Purandaradasa and Kanakadasa. 

A noted vocalist and a prominent jalatarangam artiste of Karnataka, 
Devendrappa was versatile with violin, sitar, dilruba and tabla. 

M.R. DORAISWAMY - FLAUTIST: (b. April 25, 1922) 

Born at Chickmagalur, of Ramachandra Ayyar, Doraiswamy enhanced his 
musical instincts by constant exposure to classical music in gramaphone records 
and later with training under Narasinga Rao, before joining the Central College 
of Carnatic Music, Madras in 1938. He got his diploma with rank. Made his 
debut in 1938 itself. Has been giving a large number of concerts. In 1962, he 
joined the Ayyianar College, Bangalore as music teacher and became its Vice- 
Principal. Doraiswamy's expert knowledge and technical perfection helped in 
his concerts being satisfying and crisp with sruti and laya alignment. 

Concert Tour : U.S.S.R. 


SALEM DORESWAMI AYYANGAR - VOCALIST: (July 1890 - Dec.20, 1952) 

Salem Doreswami Ayyangar was the favourite disdiple of Ramnad (Poochi) 
Srinivasa Ayyangar. When Mysore Vasudevacharya visited the home of the 
guru, Doreswami Ayyangar was sitting by the side of his guru tuning the 
tamboora, the other disciples listening to the guru singing the Begada varnam 
'Marachitlundedi Meragadura'. When the guru turned to his prime disciple, the 
latter went in and brought a heapful of idlies and a pot of ghee. The guru was 
a glutton both in food and in music. Vasudevacharya was surprised to see 
Srinivasa Ayyangar gulping down twenty-five idlies fully drenched and soaked 
in ghee and a potful of coffee to be followed up by pupils! Once at midnight 
Doreswami was missing from his room and after intensive search, the guru found 
him near a pond practising at that nocturnal hour full-throated his song in raga 
Purvikalyani 'Paramapavana Rama'. A shiver went down his spine as he had 
reprimanded Doreswami earlier that day for not practising the kirtana satisfac- 
torily. When he touched Dore, he was not even conscious of the touch, 
immersed as he was in his Purvikalyani in that calm and serene atmosphere 
when solemn stillness ruled. Doreswami opened his eyes only when water was 
sprinkled on his face. The guru hugged him fondly and from that day, he made 
Doreswami take his bed by his side! Poochi was fond of his disciples doing 

Parents : Gopala Ayyangar and Seshammal (Patnam Srinivasa 

Ayyangar, his grandfather was an educationist.) 

Was born at : Abhinavam in Salem district. 

Leaving his home at the age of nine, he had a brief training under Sarabha 
Sastri. As his health was then failing Sarabha recommended him to Poochi 
Srinivasa Ayyangar when he had completed the Ata tala Kalyani varnam. 

Doreswami Ayyangar covered the distance from Kumbakonam to 
Ramanathapuram on foot and Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar was glad to take him 
as a disciple. Bhaskara Sethupati of Ramnad sanctioned a monthly stipend of 
Rs.fifty for the purpose. From 1 901 to 1 919, Doreswami Ayyangar had, perhaps, 
the longest tenure of gurukulavasa, doing the domestic chores for his guru and 
following him to his concerts too. In 1921 on the Vijaya Dasami day, he made 
his debut before Bhaskara Sethupati with top accompanists Tirukkodikaval 
Krishna Ayyar on violin, Azhaganambi Pillai on mridangam and Mamundia Pillai 
on kanjira. He shifted to Madras and then to Salem. Was giving quite a large 
number of concerts. Krishnarajendra Wodeyar was captivated by his rendition 
and offered him the post of asthana vidwan which Ayyangar did not accept. He 
was hailed as an 'Uthama Gayaka 1 . 

In 1926, Sri Purandaradasa MahotsavaSabha, Coimbatore conferred on him 
the title of 'Gana Sikhamani', when he gave a delectable concert with Mysore 


Chowdiah and Palghat Mani as accompanists. He was on the Experts Commit- 
tee of the Music Academy, Madras and his views were appreciated. 

Among his disciples, his son Salem Chellam Ayyangar is now a performing 
vidwan and is in the Kalakshetra College of Fine Arts, Madras. 

Disc recordings. 


In the early part of this century, there was a craze for english notes. Palladam 
Sanjeeva Rao handled them quite often as flute was eminently suited for english notes. 
Madurai Mani-Ayyar's style of rendition of english notes had a special aesthetic quality 
and so he consistently included them in his concerts. 


* God is partial to woman in giving them a lovely voice/ 

-T. Sankaran. 

4 Even braying should be done by female asses, not by the male/ 

Tirumalai Naidu. 

* * * 


Gottuvadyam Narayana Ayyangar died while singing the song ' Mokshamu Galada ' 
at the All India Radio, Bangalore. 

Veena C Krishnamurty died while he was teaching. 

Flautist P. Sabhesan died while performing at the Tyagaraja Aradhana at Pune. He 
hailed from Kumbakonam. 

Many such souls had diluted their earthly coils in melody. 



(20th century) 

idi Sisters and Dhanakoti Sisters monopolised concerts by woman-duos 
is century. Disciples of Patnam Subramania Ayyar, Enadi Sisters com- 
/ell and sang in perfect unison. Were speed merchants noted for their 
ilate sweet voice and enchanting rendition. Eminent vidwans had praise 
r music and T.Sahkaran writes: 

1 When they sang, Ninnujuchi dhanyudaiti in madhyamakala, Tirukkodikaval Krishna 
Ayyar and Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar were charmed. Ayyar admitted, "When we sing 
the piece, it becomes a drag. But look how perfectly these ladies have handled it". The 
sisters were however misers in hoarding their fabulous repertoire. They would put their 
tambura away the moment they heard of visitors. But their madhyamakala singing was 
so spotless that my mother Lakshmiratnammal tried very hard to learn a few from them. 
They did begin to teach her a song in Behag. After two lines the lesson ceased with 
"Come, next Sunday". But that Sunday never came. They died penniless. 1 

lanyan ' also says that the Enadi Sisters were 'notorious for keeping 
Ives and their music away from rasikas'. Of course, one could have no 
>n to their keeping 'themselves' away from rasikas. It was unfortunate 
tragedy that while their repertoire was fabulous and their music was 
they should have died penniless! Evidently they had deprived themsel- 
ocently of well-wishers and sane advice being of possessive nature. 


usicians conversant with the more complex tonal structures and form of Carnatic 
an digest the less complex tonal structure of Hindustani music. That is why that 
ninent Carnatic musicians have achieved eminence as performers in Hindustani 
10 Hindustani musician has emerged as Carnatic musician of any worth... It speaks 
5 for the openness of mind and sense of curiosity of the Carnatic music tradition 
thuswami Dikshitar not only seriously learnt Hindustani music but also composed 
ustani ragas... Presentation of these in routine Carnatic style and carnaticisation 
ragas of their beauty...Greater incidence of gamakas is the basic hurdle... 
ani system is by and large pitch-oriented, while Carnatic music is raga-bhava 

_ Prof. R. Visveswaran - Sruti. 



a. Gottuvadyam Sakharama Rao and Veena Dhanammal did not take mridangam and 
yet shone as collossuses. 

|y. Madpii Subramania Ayyar sang swaras to the phrase rupamu pratapamu 
(Ninnuvina Sukhamuganu - Todi) with hundreds ofporuthams. I cannot forget them. 
He did not think of swaras as he sang. 

c lt jjruvisanallur Narayanaswami sang a lot of swaras (and not too many kritis) that 
made hearts throb with joy. 

d. Govindaswami Pillai rained sarvalaghu swaras. 

e. Naina Pillai sang kritis so perfectly that one would never feel satiated with hearing 

L Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar would give form to the raga before embellishing 
it with astonishing brikas. 

g. Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar sang with feeling. None can match his speed in 
brikas, not even violin. There were no straight ascents and descents but coils within 

h* Raga alapanas increased in scope and duration after the arrival of 
G.N. Balasubramaniam. 

i. Pushpavanam and Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar began singing Hindustani 
songs at their concerts. Of course, Muthuswami Dikshitar was the earliest to 
undergo training in it and compose many songs availing of the good shades in 
Hindustani ragas. 

j. Tiger Varadachariar's music was soaked in life. 

k. Musiri Subramania Ayyar's singing had great depth. It was bhava sangita. I have 
seen people sobbing during his concerts when he sang Tiruvadi Charanam. His 
voice had the unique quality of being clear. 

1. In the songs of Papanasam Sivan, music and meaning marvellously blended and are 
melted perfectly. 

As Nedunuri Krishnamurti referred to, the good features and styles of maestros may 
be kept in view and imbibed by apprentices. 

*(Bhislima refers to Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar.) 



(20fh Cenfyry Beginning) 

Ganapathy Bhagavatar was born at Mukkai near Palghat - a meeting place 
of three rivers of which one is the invisible i.e. Antarvauhini like the celebrated 
Saraswati at Prayag and at Mukkudal near Kanchipuram. A prominent vidwan, 
he was very popular in the area. 


(b. May 26, 1942) 

Place of birth : Mekedatu village in Kanakapura district, Karnataka. 

Parents : Veda Brahma Narasimha Sastri & Jayalakshmi Mata. 

His Holiness Sri Ganapathi Sacchidananda Swamigal, the Founder- Presi- 
dent of Sri Ganapathi Sacchidananda Avadootha Peetham, Mysore is a siddha 
purusha with spiritual attainments. Swamigal is a tireless crusader for spiritual 
revival inculcating spiritual values, humanism, equanimity of mind and relief of 
suffering in particular. He has set afoot many social projects and musical 
therapy is one among them. 

The Swamiji started his life in the Postal Department in a village near 
Nanjangud town and was of a spiritual berit of mind since childhood. A net-work 
of 1 60 ashrams in the East and the West and an impressive centre at Mysore 
with a studio to aid, spread the message and teachings of the Swamiji now. 

Swamigal had no formal training in music but took to veena, sitar and some 
other intruments. Music is a hereditary virtue, an asset inherited from the 
ancestor Vedamurthi Jalappa Sastri who was an ashtavadhani and a master 
musician. Mastery of Sanskrit lore in the family gave sustenance to the musical 
heritage, A study of the lives of great musicians and composers of the past 
clearly reveals that music and Sanskrit were inseparable twins and that one 
aided the progress and prosperity of the other. Swamigal has taken to mass 
healing being a yogi with music as his instrument He has been touring round 
the world conducting and propagating spiritual music to achieve the twin objec- 
tives of meditation and healing. Music has always been treated as the fourth 
Vpaveda 1 , the other three being Dhanurveda, Ayurveda and Artha Sastra. Says 
the Swamiji: 


' I use devotional music as a means of spiritual energy transmission. Some Higher Force 
takes care of my process once I decide to heal through music, There is pure energy in 
melody with pure notes (swara suddhi). Spiritual power and brilliance help me, I 
composed thousands of kirtans in many languages. Indian music is soulful. Ragas 
originate from Nature. I do not claim I heal. Lord heals. I am only His instrument. ' 

Concerts abroad : 

Musical Healing concerts were given at Zurich, Munich, Dusseldorf (West Germany), 

Luisiana, Slippery Rock (USA), 

Hoois Beaufort, Antwerp and Hague in Europe. 

Swamiji has given such concerts at Madras, Hyderabad and other cities also. 
Compositions & Books: 

Guru Gita, Bhajan Yogamu, Bhajan Kaveri, Bhajan Mala and quite a number 
of other books. 

Disc recordings : 

Bhajans, Concerts and other items in compact discs, cassettes and video 

Honours & Titles: 

Some are- 

i. Member, Metropolitan City Council of Baton Rogue, USA 
ii. 'State of Louisiana' Approbation. 


Swamiji uses an electronic Holland synthesiser for presenting vibrant sounds 
interspersed with shades of jazz. His concert provides an enthralling,* but 
relaxed soothing melody conferring mental peace to the listeners. 

P.V. GAMES A AYYAR - VOCALIST: (b.(c.) 1921) 

Pozhakudi Ganesa Ayyar enjoys an immense repertoire of songs and has 
been coaching a large tribe of talented students in classical music. A Sangita 
Bhushanam, he has been honoured with the titles of Pavaimani, Tharangamani 
and Swara Sahitya Mani. During his studies for taking the diploma Sangita 
Bhushanam at the Annamalai University, renowned musicians like Tiger 
Varadachariar, Sabhesa Ayyar and Ponniah Filial were his teachers. 



(b. May 22, 1932) 

While writing on Jalatarangam Subba Ayyar, it was mentioned in Book I that 
Anayampatti is to jaiatarangam what Melattur is to bhagavatha mela or Palghat 
to mridangam. Anayampatti S. Ganesan comes in a distinguished line of 
artistes. Son of Subba Ayyar, he was born at Anayampatti. He had appren- 
ticeship in - 

Vocal music under : his father, A. V. Narayana Ayyar, uncle and violin vidwan 

and Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. 

Violin under : " Anayampatti S. Dandapani and 

Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. 

Jalatarangam : 'Swayam Krishi' - Ancestral legacy, self motivation and 


Bidding goodbye to general education with higher elementary school, he 
made his debut at the age of fourteen during the Thai Poosam Festival as 
vocalist, in his twentieth year as violinist and as a Jalatarangam artiste in his 
fifty-second year at Anayampatti itself. Ganesan is attached to the All India 
Radio, Pondicherry since 1975. 

Concert tour : Provided violin support to his brother and guru, late 

S. Dandapani in France (1982), 

Publication : 'Isai Tamil' with notation (Lyrics by Nadathur Nambi of All 

India Radio, Pondicherry.) 
Cassette ; One 

Titles : Ganakala Bhushana from Pondicherry admirers. 

Isai Kadal by Karaikudi Tamil Isai Sangham. 
Taranga Vadya Dhureena from Karnataka. 

A highly difficult art with limited public patronage, Ganesan is upholding a 
traditional family heritage in Jalatarangam. 


Daughter of Dr. S. Krishnamurthy and Rukmani, Gayatri was born at Mysore. 
Her grandfather Sankaranarayana Iyer was a well-known composer and 
musicologist. A Bachelor of Science with a Diploma in Advertising, Gayatri had 
her musical training under Kallidaikurichi M.Ramalinga Bhagavatar (brother of 
Vedanta Bhagavatar), Nellai Mani, a violinist' and Tirunelveli Meenakshisundara 


Bhagavatar. She was associated with the prominent magazine on Music and 
Dance 'Sruti' during 1983- 1 988 and is now News Correspondent, Doordarshan, 
Bangalore. Made her debut in 1 957 at the Tyagaraja Utsavam, Tirunelveli and 
has been giving concerts on the All India Radio and elsewhere. 


Giriraja Kavi was the ilustrious composer of sringara padas and excellent 
yakshagana plays in honour of his patrons Raja Shahaji II (1684-1712) and Raja 
Sambhaji I (1712 - 1728) of Tanjore. Histelugu compositions numbering about 
two hundred are preserved in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. 

After scrutinising the family pedigrees given by Giriraja Kavi's brother 
Kavigiri alias Venkatagiri in his 'Rukmangada Charitra' and Abhinayadarpana' 
and the Wallajahpet manuscripts, Dr. S. Seetha states that Giriraja Kavi was 
different from Giriraja Brahman, grandfather of Tyagarajah and author of 
yakshaganas and kirtanas who adorned the Court of Tulajah (1 763 -1 789) and 
that it is dificult to ascribe some songs to either one of the individual composers. 

Apart from the confusion in the identification of the paternal grandfather of 
Tyagarajah, there was probably confusion in respect of his maternal grandfather, 
Vina Kalahastayya also. He is different from Vina Kalahastayya who was 
honoured in 1771 by Raja Tulajah. 

Giriraja Kavi had invented new ragas like 

Sarabharaja Chandrika 

Sarabha Lalita 

Sarabha Kalpam 

Sarabha Nalina and 

Suranidhi, 'the melodic individuality of which is not known'. 

His musical plays in telugu are 

Sarvanga Sundari Vilasam Rajamohana Kuravanji 

Rajakanya Parinayam Vadajayamu and 

Lilavati Kalyanam. 

These are stated to be in manuscript still. Soma Kavi, Vasudeva Kavi, Rama 
Bharati and Pattabhiramayya were among his contemporaries in the Court of 

(Note; The description given at page 64 of 'A Garland' stands modified.) 



Prof. Gomati Vishwanathan inherited much from her musically talented 
mother, a violinist and disciple of Tirukkodikaval Krishna Ayyar, her grandmother, 
aunt and grandaunt. Initiated at the age of seven by her mother, she had 
specialised training with - 

Mannargudi Swaminatha Ayyar 

Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar 

Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar and 

T.K. Jayarama Ayyar -^ - all celebrities. 

The benevolent Justice T.L Venkatarama Ayyar gave her insight into 
Muthuswami Dikshitar's kritis. On the academic side, she got her M. Lit. in music 
from the Madras University on her thesis The Music of the Nritya - Natakas of 
South India', having made an in-depth study of the diverse types of dance 

Gomati Vishwanathan has been giving concerts for nearly five decades on 
the All India Radio, Doordarshan and for prestigious institutions. Has a vast 
and unique repertoire of the compositions of practically all eminent great clas- 
sical composers in telugu, Sanskrit, tamil, etc. She is a traditionalist. A 
musicologist of vast erudition, varied specialisation and dedication, she is in 
constant demand for lecture-demonstrations, guidance in research and expert 
opinion. Sangeet Natak Akademy, Central Institute of Education, All India Radio, 
Music Academy and Universities have requisitioned her services and her lecture 
- demonstrations cover as varied subjects as 'Isai Tamizh' and 'Unpublished 
kritis of Merattur Venkatarama Sastry' and 'Historical Evolution of Karnatak 
Music' and Temple Music 1 . 

Has authored numerous articles. Was associated with the committees on 
music of the Delhi University, AIR Audition Committee. Was Adviser to the 
University Grants Commission, Sangit Natak Akademy and Central Board of 
Secondary Education, etc. She is on the Experts Committee of the Madras 
Music Academy. 

Prof. Gomati Vishwanathan was Reader-Head of the Karnatak Music Depart- 
ment of the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, Delhi University and is now Visiting 
Professor, Queen Mary's College, Madras and Madras University. 


Gopala Ayyar had-all the plus points - a melodious voice, flawless 
expertise and fine rendition but lacked luck. He had to toil as an 


ordinary accountant in a brass vessel shop and supplement the income 
by acting as voice support to harikatha artistes. 

Lacklustre life did not, however, prevent Gopala Ayyar from entertaining a 
fond desire to sing with Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar, a colossus, on violin. The 
absurdity of entertaining such a desire deterred neither him from expressing it 
to his friend and patron Balakrishna Udayar nor the latter from sympathising with 
him. Udayar brought Krishna Ayyar for 'a concert' without revealing the name 
of the vocalist to the last. To his consternation and dismay, the celebrated 
all-time maestro Krishna Ayyar saw Gopala taking his seat at the centre of the 
concert stage rather than behind some other vocalist to lend voice-support. 
Overcoming his aversion and anger, he played with a fallen heart He was 
surprised to find Gopala singing very well and finally recommended a fair fee for 
him too. If Viswamitra extracted acknowledgement from the mouth of Vasishta 
that he was a Brahma Rishi, Gopala too had his day of glory to have the maestro 
as his violin accompaniment and secure his nod in appreciation. (ELLARVi) 


There is an amorous marriage of the Lalgudi family with violin. Lalgudi 
Radhakrishna Ayyar, a prominent violinist of his days, trained his two sons, 
Madurai Kandaswami Bhagavatar and V.R, Gopala Ayyar as violinists. It is well 
known that the tradition is kept up with added flavour by Gopala Ayyar's children 
and grand children who have made the word 'Lalgudi 1 a family attribute denoting 
charm and exhuberant violin play. Gopala Ayyar was a competent violinist whose 
rendition cascaded fast. He was a composer of elegance. Lalgudi Jayaraman 
reminisces that he owes his all to his eminent father and regrets that his father's 
retiring disposition and lack of opportunities robbed him of the recognition that 
was his due. 


The family of Gopalaratnam hailed from Srirangam but she was born at 
Pushpagiri near Vijayanagar and had her tutelage with Vainika Joga Rao. Later 
she took a diploma in 1 956 in music. A very good artiste with a melodious voice 
and talents, Gopalaratnam has been giving concerts on the All India Radio and 
at important institutions like the Music Academy, Madras and Ram Mandira, 
Mysore. She was singing for the Bhakti Ranjani programmes of the All India 
Radio. A multi-faceted artiste, she is well-versed in the exposition of yak- 
shagana, kuchipudi, Melattur Mela, folk music, javali, etc., items. 

Title ; Madhura Gayak 

,* * * 



S. GOVINDARAJA PILLAI (b. Nov. 7, 1919 


Born at Tiruvizhimalalai, of Subramania Pillai and Sethu Ammal, both were 
initially trained for vocal music by their paternal uncle and later had training in 
nagaswaram under their father and uncle Natarajasundaram. Are prominent 
artistes and popular. Were asthana vidwans of Dharmapuram and 
Tiruvaduthurai Mutts and have given a large number of recitals on the All India 
Radio and elsewhere. Tiruvizhimalalai has a beautiful temple and the nagaswara 
artistes are usually accredited to it. Vide pages 191-2 of A Garland tor details 
on Tiruvizhimalalai Brothers (Sr.) 

Titles & Honours : 

Nagaswara Rathnam . 

Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1979. 

Concert tour : 

Sri Lanka. 

T.K. GOVINDA RAO - VOCALIST & PEDAGOGUE : (b. April 21 , 1 929) 

Born at Tirupoonthura in Kerala, of Kamalam and Krishna Rao, a mdisician, 
Govinda Rao had his first lessons in music under his cousin, Mani Bhagavatar. 
He was in the first batch of students at the Central College of Music, Madras, 
then under Principal Musiri Subramania Ayyar. Simultaneously Rao was taking 
lessons from Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar thus deriving the benefit of the 
scholarship and musical eminence of two sangita kalanidhis of different styles. 
Rao is a staunch upholder of kalapramana backed by tonal felicity and his 
concerts are satisfying. 

After his training, Govinda Rao has been giving concerts extensively in India 
and abroad. He was Lecturer for sometime at the Central College of Carnatic 
Music, Madras and later became Producer, All India Radio, Madras. He was 
shifted to Delhi and retired in January, 1990 as Chief Producer. He has set to 
tune slokas also. 

Books & Publications : 

Varnamanjari comprising 27 vamas 

Kshetra Kirtanas of Tyagaraja on Tirupati, Kanchipuram and Tiruvaiyaru fully notated 

along with S. Rajam. 


Disc recordings : 
Concert tours abroad : 

USA, Canada, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Mangolia. 

Govinda Rao is an admirer of the ancient system of gurukulavasa which 
instils emotional integration between the teacher and the taught and provides 
immense scope for creativeness, the bedrock of Indian music. Here is an 
anecdote cited by Rao : 

'A boy was sent to Muthuswami Dikshitar for training in music. Several 
months later, the father was pained to hear that lessons had not been started 
for his son and so to ascertain the position, he made a visit to Dikshitar. When 
he politely enquired the Bard of Tiruvarur, that intellectual Kshetragna sum- 
moned the boy and asked him to sing! The perplexed boy started with diffidence 
and ended with a fine rendition to the amazement of the father and satisfaction 
of his guru!' 

Govinda Rao states that it was gurukulavasa in essence, knowledge ac- 
quired and assimilated by hearing, by becoming one with the guru and realising 
in himself a second version of his guru quite in accord with the Adwaita 
philosophy. (This anecdote finds support in the case of Mysore Vasudevacharya, 
who has penned that Patnam Subramanya Ayyar rarely taught him but that he 
accompanied him to all his concerts seeking clarification only on his doubts.) 
Rao further points out that Carnatic music is kriti-oriented providing sahitya 
bhava and rasa in addition to drawing out the various possibilities and potential 
of raga bhava. The great vaggeyakaras have practically covered all the pos- 
sibilities for elaboration and creativity, which is the bedrock of Indian music. He 
mentions that Annamalai University in earlier decades provided a quasi 
gurukulavasa as the gurus and pupils lived together affording enough scope for 
mutual exchanges outside the classrooms too, 

Honours & Titles : . _ 

Sangita Sastra Ratnakara by Sri Mouna Swamigal, Madras 1 968. 

Gana Kala Tilakam by Sri Rama Seva Mandali, Malleswaram 1 972. 

Gana Nadakanal by Nadakanal, Madras 1 985. 

Sangita Choodamani by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras 1 988. 

V. GOVINDASWAMI ffAICKER - VIOLINIST: (b. Septr. 24, 1915) 

Bom at Cuddalore 

of Venu Naickerand Anandammal. 

Leamt Violin under Rathinaswami Pillai and VHIivakkam Narasimhachariar 


In his 15th year, he toured Burma and gave solos earning much praise and 
popularity. Had accompanied most of the prominent vidwans and has been 
honoured with titles like 

Tantri Nadamani Isai Aruvi and 


Concert tour: Sri Lanka, Burma 

Note: Villivakkam was once spelt as Villivalkam to exhibit the Madrasi's partiality for King's 
English. Another specimen of it was the fact that Hampden Bridge on Mylapore - 
Triplicane border was pronounced as Amden Bridge; the word Amden was translated 
into tamil as Ambattan (meaning barber) and retranslated into english as Barber's 
Bridge. It was the terminus for the old electric trams and was a prominent landmark. 


A prominent pedagogue, Gowri Kuppuswami has authored numerous ar- 
ticles of importance and books like - 
Teaching of Music and 
Pallaki Seva Prabhandam. 

Dr. M. Hariharan who had taken his Ph.D. at the Mysore University has 
co-authored several of the contributions of the Professor. They had jointly 
carried out several projects and brought out many publications. Had jointly 
visited USA and Canada. 

Prof. Gowri Kuppuswami had her training in music under K.S. Krishnaswami 
Ayyar, K.V. Venkatarama Ayyar, T.R. Balasubramanian, R.K. Srikantan, M.L. 
Vasantakumari and S. Kalyanaraman. She made her appearance on the All 
India Radio in 1950 and gave her first concert in 1952 at the Mysore Gana Kala 
Mandira. Has a sweet voice and acquired immense knowledge and expertise. 
In 1967, she was appointed as Reader, Mysore College of Music and later 
became Professor and Head of Department of Music, University of Mysore. 

Concert tours : * USSR, Yugoslavia and Bulgaria with the Bharatanatya 
Troupe in 1 970. USA and Canada in 1 981 . 


'This is not the way Bade Khan Saheb used to begin*, 

protested a rasika in the audience at Pune. 

'I am no stenographer to Bade Miyan', retorted Mallikarjun Mansur and showed the contrast 
between Bade Miyan's rendition and his own. M. Madan Mohan 

The artiste has thus demonstrated his knowledge and his individuality! 



Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, doyen of Carnatic vocalists for three decades - 

i. Always carried a sheet of paper and a pencil tucked in 
at his waist to jot down ideas and points; - Secretarial ; 

ii. Was meticulous in writing up his daily accounts; - Accounts and Audit; 

iii. Was parsimonious to a degree when his purse 

was involved; * - Financial Control ; 

iv. Was never parsimonious in conversation or 

encouraging others; * - Public Relations; 

v. Very strict in keeping up appointments; - Administration 

vL Always took good advice wheresoever it came from Receptivity; and 


vii. Was well known for 'pinching*. Once he got a gun 

from an admirer but never shot any. - One of the 64 Arts ? 

Source: S. Raj am in 'Sruti'. 

(Note: A word about the village of Ariyakudi. Once an asukavi visited the village. None cared 
for him. He became angry and so started singing ex tempore a song which would bring eternal 
perdition to the villagers. Frightened at his Durvasa type of rage, villagers prayed to be 
pardoned. The asukavi modified his song already begun to the effect that the village shall remain 
where it was. It did not prosper much until recently.) 


In Mylapore Nadu Street, where Balachander-Rajam Brothers prospered in their 
teens, Kanchipuram Naina Pillai gave a concert. Mridangam Ramdas and Trichy 
Panchami on kanjira played softly in deference to the vocal maestro. The audience began 
to deride the percussionists. An annoyed Naina Pillai stopped singing and asked the two 
accompanists, *A short tani (percussion solo). Come on, show your merit*. The two 
percussionists were accomplished artistes. 

There ensued a breezy play in rhythm and dazzling fingering. The crowd clapped 
repeatedly. Pillai, before resuming, said: 

'They laughed at you before* Now you laugh at them.' 

T. Sankaran. 



P. H ARIHARA AYYAR - VEENA ARTISTE : (b. December 1 0, 1 932) 

Place of birth : Trivandrum 

Parents : Trivandrum Veena Parameswara Bhagavatar 

Seethalakshmi Ammai 

Musical Heritage : Suchindram Veena Padmanabha Bhagavatar, 


Father an illustrious veena vidwan - W. Somerset 
Maugham listened to him and recorded, 'Wonderful and 
beautiful experience . . . lovely melodies . . A great 

Great grandfather Sthanu Bhagavatar & granduncle 

Sankaranarayana were good musicians. 

Brother & Guru, P. Padmanabhan, M.Sc., a vocalist & 


Musical Training 

Born in a musical family, training started at the age of seven and 
continued under grandfather till 1949, father till 1965 and later with 
brother P. Padmanabhan. Harihara Ayyar had thus a qualified 
gurukulavasa. Veena rendition has been a family virtue. 

Academic Qualification A Maths Graduate & now an employee in the Life 
& Occupation : Insurance Corporation. 

A.I.R. artiste since 1958 

Debut : December 1 948 at V. J.T. Hall, Trivandrum 


Harihara Ayyar has been giving concerts on the All India Radio, sabhas, etc. 
An expert in the design and construction of veena, the vidwan has been carrying 
on the style and message of his distinguished ancestors wth a keen eye on the 
purity of rendition. 

He recalls the incident in about 1885 in which Suchindram Padmanabha 
Bhagavatar was asked to play for five minutes before Sri Rama Ayyangar, 
Dewan of Travancore as the latter had to attend some functions urgently. 
Amazed at the time given, the vainika started setting the tune simultaneously, 
Rama Ayyangar forgotthis functions and sat for two hours and then said : 

1 Dear Bhagavatar, you had tied me to your Kalyani alapana and made me forget the 
other kalyanams (marriage functions). Your Kalyani is worth more than all the other 
nine ! ' 


August 1 966. Harihara Ayyar's concert was on. A 'rasika' requested him for 
'RTA' i.e. ragam, tanam and anupallavi - not the usual 'RTP'. Ayyar obliged him 
with raga and tanam in Kamboji followed by neraval and swaras beginning at 
the anupallavi of the kritis 'Ma Janakl*. The rasika felt pleased. Ayyar recalls 
an incident when his father started playing 'Koniyadedu ' in Kokiladhwani. When 
a gentleman requested for raga Mayuradhwani, others in the audience shouted 
him down stating that cuckoo should prevail over the peacock in music. 


Son of Samantasfmha (also called Bhima Deva) Haripala was the ruler of 
Gujarat with his capital at Abhinavapura (Anhilawad) belonging to the 
Chalukyas. He bore the title of Vichara Chaturmukha' and has authored the 
work 'Sangita Sudhakara' in five sections dealing with angabhinaya, tala, musi- 
cal instruments, requisites of natya, gita and gita prabhandas. His work is one 
of the main links in the chain of works on music. 

' Its importance lies in its support of Nandikeswara and his system. As the work is earlier 
to Sangita Ratnakara, it helps us to trace the evolution of music and dance.' 

Gowri Kuppuswami & M. Hariharan 

HEMALATHA MANI - VAINIKA : (b. April 11, 1953) 

Daughter of K. Narayanaswarny, Hemalatha Mam" is a graduate in Arts and 
Law. She underwent training under C. Chitti Babu, the veena maestro and also 
took the Sangita Vidwan diploma at the Govt. Music College, Madras in 1975. 
With scholarship from Government, she continued her specialised training with 
Chitti Babu in Veena. Made her debut at the Tyagaraja Aradhana, Tiruvaiyaru 
in 1968. Has been giving concerts at various forums. 

Title : Paintamizh Isai Pannbu Mani by Saraswati 

Sangeetha Sabha, Cuddalore 

Concert tours : Hongkong, Bangkok and Baltimore (USA) 

Hemalatha Mani is a composer too. Her recitals are satisfying. 

* * * 


Octr 1,1992) 

Place of birth : Choudasandra Village, Bangalore district, 

Parents ; Chicka Lingappa (Gamaki) - Kallamma. 


As a boy, Honnappa Bhagavatar took part in yakshagana, bhajans and 
dramas and learnt harmonium and tabla play. He had training under Samban- 
damurthy Bhagavatar, Mysore Arunachalappa, etc., and shaped into a classical 
musician. Actually he was giving concerts. But his own interests and future lay 
in films and dramas and so entered Sri Gubbi Veeranna's famous dramatic 
troupe and was taking lead roles. Probably his first picture was 'Ambikapathi'. 
States that 'it was a mile-stone in his glamorous film career 1 . 

Bhagavatar had acted in a number of tamil films, viz., 

Krishna Kumar Sati Sukhanya 

Devakanya Bhakta Kalathi 

Prabhavati Raja Rajeswari 

Kundalakesi Arundati 

Valmiki Burma Rani, etc. 

He acted in the kannada film 'Subhadra' and produced his own film 'Bhakta 
Kumbara'. Has acted in many other kannada films. He acted as Kalidasa and 
Basaveswara in Mahakavi Kalidasa and Jagajyoti, both of which got the National 
Awards in 1955 and 1959. He was running his own drama company called 'Uma 
Maheswara Sangeetha Nataka Mandali'. 

Honours & titles : 

Best Actor in Kannada Films By Madras Cine Fans Association. 

Natyacharya By Sri Jagadguru Vageesa Panditharadhya. 

Ganabhinaya Chandra By Sri Raghavendra Swamiji. 

Award for Karnataka 

Sastreeya Sangeetha By Karnataka State Sangeetha 

Nataka Academy. 

Gayaka Sikhamani By Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat 

Gana Kala Gandharva By Samsthana Vidwans 

Award By Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi in 1 990. 

Has been giving concerts on the All India Radio and was a member of the 
Karnataka State Films Advisory Board and Chairman of the Board of Music 
Examinations. Was President of the Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat. Bhagavatar 
was more a cine star than a vocalist. 

Honnappa Bhagavatar has composed about 300 kritis and his compositions 
have been brought out in the book 'Omkara Nadasudha* published by Kannada 
Sahitya Parishat in 1983. 




Duos have embellished Classical Carnatic music from the days of Lava and 
Kusa, the advantages being not far to seek, The measure of success of the 
duos hinges upon the degree of exploitation of the varied advantages in tone 
(individual and joint), reach and range of the individual artistes, felicity and 
expertise in segmental rendition - raga alapana, kriti, swara, etc, (V7dethe 
Chapter on 'Woman in Melody' in Part I. Radha and Jayalakmi, Bombay Sisters, 
etc. have been highly successful as duos.) Alathur Brothers, Manakkal Brothers, 
Pozhakudi Brothers, Bellary Brothers, Raman - Lakshmanan Brothers, Ganesh 
- Kumaresh (violinists), etc., have established varying degrees of success in 
Carnatic music. Hyderabad Brothers are the latest who have established a very 
close rapport with the music lovers and carved out a niche for themselves quite 
soon after their advent. 

The Brothers enjoy a cultivated voice. Their rendition is entirely traditional 
in concept, projection and coverage. They enjoy total alignment to sruti, plan 
their concert menu with professional skill and sing with measured precision. The 
high sense of faith in the classical content is kept up invariably at successive 
concerts. 'With strong voices, their rendition is marked with thrust, energy and 
mastery over art with aesthetic awareness. Seshachari's strength and vigour in 
alapana is matched by the softness of RaghavachanY It would appear that they 
have adopted the concert pattern of Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangarwith success. 
Quite a professional approach with efficiency. 


i. Can two players play on a single musical instrument ? Yes. 

Keeranur Govindaswami Pillai, a zealous nagaswara player, wished to do 
something unique. So he took his brother-in-law Muthuswami Pillai and 
both played a kriti (song) on a single pipe - one went on blowing the pipe 
and the other fingered it! (ELLARVI) 

ii. Daughter of Devakottai Narayana Ayyangar, Vedavalli Srinivasan, Lec- 
turer, Music College, Madras paired two handicapped students to play on 
a single veena. One girl used her left hand on the frets while the other 
provided the meetu (tuning). Veena maestro S. Balachander was the 
Chief Guest at the demonstration. 



Mother got the throne for him. But he treated it as evil and the right secured 
for him as monstrous sin opposed to all canons of dharma. Not only did he reject 
it but underwent penance till the rightful claimant came back after fourteen years 
of exile. That was Bharata in Epic Ramayana. But the scion of the Chera 
Dynasty of the West Coast, Illango scorned even the suggestion that he was the 
most suitable to ascend the throne. Thus far, his life was a replica of Bharata. 
To avoid any future possibility or suspicion, he took to renunciation. That was 
so like Bhishma of the epic Mahabharata. This Prince of Magnificence brought 
out the finest fragrant gold of tamil works - the epic called *Qilappatikaram\ 
woven around an anklet. It is a beautiful story of virgin chastity, unmatched 
music and dance, love and remorse, wrongs and morals and ultimate tragedy 
of the noblest type with a king dying the minute he realises his folly in condemn- 
ing to death an innocent person and with a city reduced to ashes for miscarriage 
of justice! Mahakavi Subramania Bharati thundered that 'we would destroy the 
world if an individual is left without food. 1 Kannagi, the heroine (an Angel of 
Chastity) destroys the City of Madurai when her innocent husband, a mortal is 
wrongly charged with theft and is beheaded. An innocent shall not be punished 
even if it be that several criminals are let off, says the unwritten codes of modern 
world. Nearly two thousand years back, the king dies (not killed like Charles I, 
or a Louis or a Czar) and the city is reduced to ashes because an innocent soul 
was wrongly punished. That was the glory of India that was ! Let us recollect 
the episodes of Manu Neeti Cholan and other Pillars of Dharma and Morality. 
One could then appreciate why Bharati was vehement in asserting, 'You are the 
son of Bharat; Forget it not' As Paul Brunton said, the Nation should not discard 
the good and great things it has inherited. 

Illango portrays and weaves out a captivating story to bring home his 
message. Kovalan, a rich merchant marries Kannagi. The reception includes 
the dance performance of Madhavi, a danseuse of rare charm. A victim of 
bewitchery, Kovalan follows Madhavi instantly and life is enchanting to them 
both. Time fleets to them though not to the discarded spouse left a virgin. They 
join the Indra Festival celebrated on the seashore. Seeds of suspicion and 
embitterrnent are sown. Just as he left Kannagi on the day of marriage, Kovalan 
leaves Madhavi at the Festival and returns to the waiting wedded wife full of 
remorse. Chill penury necessitates the couple to leave for Madurai to sell one 
of her anklets of matchless beauty to 'start' their married life ! (They had never 
started that before and never did later too !) 


At Madurai the kind hostess Madhuri, in whose charge Kannags is left, sees 
bad omens even as Calpurnia saw in Shakespeare's Caesar - fourteen cen- 
turies later !. Kovalan gets cheated by a goldsmith; a just king passes the unjust 
illegal sentence of death for Kovaian's alleged crime of theft and Kovalan is 
beheaded. The Fire of Dharma, of Righteousness is kindled in the heart of 
innocent Kannagi and her wrath reduces the city to ashes, after the good king 
dies when he is confronted with unimpeachable evidence that Kovalan was 
innocent of any crime. A soul shattering tragedy. Law is supreme ! 

Illango brings out the whole panorama of music and dance fo account in the 
course of the epic drama through Madhavi's art and later through Madhuri's 
'Kuravai Koothu '. Even the seven women who take part in the koothu are named 
after the seven notes -kural, thutham, kaikilai, uzhai, ill or eli, vilari andtharam! 
Qilappatikaram has been the eternal inspiration of the people of the South and 
Kannagi is worshipped as the Goddess of Chastity. There is a temple too for 
her near the state boundary. 

There are two commentaries on the work - one by Arumpadaurai Asiriyar 
and the other by Adiyarkkunallar. Dr. S. Ramanathan has done original 
research into the musical aspects dealt with in it. The work has three 
cantos, thirty chapters and 5200 lines. 

'It is the product of a master mind, a rernarkabe literary classic ... It is 
astonishing how Illango incorporates Bharata's Natya Sastra bodily into his own 
work so that it fitted into the core of Tamil Culture. The graft is accomplished 
with consummate genius and foresightedness. . . ' 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 

It is extraordinary that the work of the second century in the South accords 
with the work of Bharata in the North. Qilappatikaram is 'a real treasure-house 
of source material for a correct understanding of the music of South India'. 



Qualification Graduated in Music from the Kalakshetra and the 

Central College of Music, Madras (1 957) 

MBA & Doctorate in Music at California University, USA 

Indira Srinivasan has other qualifications too and had been a teacher while 
young. Conversant with many languages, she presented the thesis Influence 
of South Indian Music in Algerian Music and a Comparative Study of Music of 
India, Algeria and the West' for her doctorate. She has been giving and 
organising concerts, bhajans, etc., and imparting tuitions. She has given 


demonstrations and presented essays. Has composed songs in tamil and 

As president of the institution 'Omkaranadam', she arranges programmes 
herself taking prominent part in them including a cultural tour of Thailand and 
Singapore.. A multi-faceted lady, she is equipped in painting and drawing. To 
quote Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission, 'Combining in herself 
a good academic education, musical talents and capacity for painting and 
drawing and writing books, she has used all these to further the cause of national 


The musician read that the Duke of Edinburgh admonished Argentinian students who 
threw eggs at him saying: 

* Do not throw any more; 

I have only a limited supply of suits. ' 

He relished the subtle humour and put it to use at his concert that evening: 

* Enough, enough. 

Halt that rhythmic applause 
after every alapana, kriti and swara 
lest your hands should ache ! 
I take note of your gestures ! ! ' 


1936. Teynampet Congress grounds, Madras. Golden Jubilee Celebrations. 
Semmangudi-Rajamanickam-Dakshinamoorti concert started. Dakshinamoorti Pillai 
strangely kept two mridangams as is seen in folk dances one over the other and played 
on both like an inspired genius. Labyrinths of laya intricacies were laid bare and 
fingering and sound variations cascaded throughout and he was the cynosure of all eyes. 
Concert over, his euphoric expression was: 

" *A* class. If a man is in difficulty, 
how can I refrain from giving a hand to help him ? " 

Srinivasa Ayyar and Rajamanickam Pillai understood only then the reason for the 
inspired breezy percussion gala. Ayyar had just then come back after an operation for 
ENT and had been warned against exertion! Unsolicited help is the best of help indeed. 



Eight decades back, Mahakavi Subrahmania Bharati in his scholarly treatise ' 
Vishayam* advised musicians to look to the public for patronage as the days of rajas and 
zamindars were numbered. When feudal patronage crumbled, survival of arts and artists 
became a big question mark. Government patronage was halting and inadequate. 
Fortunately Corporate patronage stepped in to help music, painting, sculpture and 
architecture. SAIL, Air India, Tata, Larsen and Toubro, FTC, VST, CEAT, Sarabhais, 
Lalbhais, ESSO, HMV, etc., participated. Sangeet Sammelan now Sangeet Research 
Academy, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Calcutta and the National Centre of 
Performing Arts, Bombay with endowments from Tatas and Mafatlal took to promoting 
classical music. In recent years, companies - big and small - sponsor specific 
programmes and concerts though not concerts on Doordarshan. In this, commercial 
advantages, publicity gains, building up their own image and the clout enjoyed by 
individual artists with individual commercial units play a significant p&rt. * Often 
performances are doled out by some companies more as a bonus from personal friendship 
than any laudable concern for art. * A prominent nationalised bank, a general insurance 
company and one or two companies are stated to maintain some balance in choosing the 
beneficiaries. But for sponsorship, art will suffer. 

Artistes have always faced difficulties. Samuel Johnson waited on Dr. Radcliff, 
Master of his old College, who received him coldly. (Thank God, India is hot.) Johnson 
at least expected that the master would order for a copy of his 'Dictionary 9 ; but the 
master did not even choose to talk on the subject, says BoswelL 

" There lives a man who lives by the revenues of literature and 
will not move a finger to support it ! * 

Samuel Johnson 

Sponsorship might not cost even as touch as a single corporate official's benami tour 
and yet, only a few think of it! 


Public life in Madras badly needs the august presence, ripe wisdom and sage 
counsel of 

Vayo Vriddhas, 

Jnana Vriddasand 

ila Vriddhas. Dr. V. Raghavan. 

Madras had these in abundance during the first half of the 20th century. An impressive 
galaxy of greats in the political, cultural , religious, art and every other walk of life lent 
grace. 1850 - 1950 was a golden era without doubt in Indian history. 


JAGANNATHA DASA - COMPOSER : ( 1726 - 1809) 

Last of the Dasas of Karnataka, Jagannatha Dasa composed suladis and 
ugabhogas. His magnum opus 'Harikathamritha Sara ' is reported to be a mine 
of information with theological truths. Signature : Jagannatha Vittala. 


July 30, 1985) 

Learnt music and veena Adiraju Narasimhamurti, R. Padmanabha Ayyar and 
under : his wife, Sitalakshmi Ammal. 

Debut : 1 938 started playing for All India Radio 

Posts held 1 948 Staff Artiste, All India Radio and retired as 

Producer. Later he was Emeritus Producer. 

Rao was a scholar of merit and a vainika "of the Andhra style, distinguished 
by the variety of 'meettus 1 used, the elaborate right hand technique and high 
speed passages." 

He has done deep research in the padas of Kshetragna and the compositions 
of Bhadrachala Ramadas, opera music and choral music. He had headed the 
Tirupati Devasthanam school to propagate Annamacharya kirtanas. 

Publications : Eighteen books including Kshetragna Padams, 

Adhumika Sangeetham and 
Bhadrachala Ramadas Kirtanalu 

Honours and Titles : Kalapravina by Andhra Pradesh Sangita Natak 

Akademy 1 980 

Honorary Doctorate by Sri Venkateswara University 1 981 
Kala Prapurna by the Andhra University 1 985 


Janaki Achuthan was an assistant commercial tax officer prior to her volun- 
tary retirement. In the male dominated art of playing mridangam, she inherited 
the taste from K. Sankara Menon of Trichur, a renowned player who had 
accompanied the maestros of his days. Janaki learnt the art from her father and 
then from Vadakancherry Lakshminarayana Iyer, Muharsing R. Elumalai, the 


all-time wizard T.S. Mani Ayyar and Dr. T.K. Murti. Her sisters are musicians. 
She has accompanied prominent artistes and is a graded artiste of AH India 
Radio and Doordarshan, 

Had won the All India Radio Music Competition Award and the Indian Fine 
Arts Society Award in 1985. 


(b. July 12, 1928.) 

11 Sing, Sing Ye forth your songs of praise, 
Ye Prjyamedhas, sing your songs ". - Atharva Veda XCIl-5, 

Janakiraman, S.R. was the distinguished Head of the Department of 
Musicology, S.V. College of Music and Dance, Tirupati for twenty-eight long 
years and is now Research Officer, Music Academy, Madras. Earlier he was 
with the Besant Theosophical College, Madanapalle during 1955-60. A relent- 
less seeker of the underlying basic principles, idealogies and truths in the allied 
but conflicting fields of lakshana and lakshya of Carnatic music, seeking its parts 
as forming an organic whole, S.R.J,, as he is well known in music circles, is one 
of the few competent authorities on music and musicology who can keep the lay 
and the professional spellbound for hours with masterly, sometimes devastating, 
exposition and thought-provoking elucidation. His assessments are well 
balanced and original. At the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan on August 8, 1990, he 
observed : 

'Music is an inexact science; can change from time to time : its rules are 
ever - changing. Music appreciation 4- Tradition + Change constitute the health 
and swaroopa of music at a given time. Consistent with tradition and conven- 
tions, innovation is vital but it should not lose its firm moorings in Carnatic 
classicism. 5 

Janakiraman is not only a master of musicology but is a vocalist of high 
calibre. As a teacher, he has handled all classes at Sri Venkateswara University 
and the M.A. class of Sri Padmavati Women's University - both at Tirupati. Side 
by side, he has been giving concerts on the All India Radio and sabhas in the 
country. He has presented numerous papers and lecture-cum-demonstrations 
at different universities and institutions. A forceful yet refined speaker com- 
manding a rich vocabulary, he has a vast repertoire of sources and authorities 
to sustain and substantiate sans peuret sans reproche (fearless and faultless). 
His forceful speeches would seem to draw inspiration from Lord Keynes' 


1 Words ought to be a little wild because they represent 
the assault of thought upon the unthinking ! ' 

Other posts held : Member, Experts' Advisory Committee, Music Academy, 

Madras since 1 978. 

Dean, Faculty of Fine Arts, Nagarjuna University -5 years 

Chairman & Member of Examining Boards of different 


Member, Board of Studies since 1 962 

Visiting Professor of Musicology, Govt. College of Music, 
Madras, Kalakshetra & Annamalai University. 

Senior Professor, Music Academy Teachers' College 

Research Officer, Music Academy, Madras. 

Titles & Honours : Honoured by the Andhra Pradesh Sangeeth Natak 

Academy in 1 968 and 1 976. 

Madras Music Academy Awards in 1 977, 1 983 & 1 988. 

T.T.K. Memorial Award 

Certificate of Merit from Music Academy, Madras. 

Sangita Kala Jyoti from Suswara, Madras 

Jnana Saraswati Peeth Award, 1 990. 

Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Award 1 991 . 

Apart from the numerous papers presented by him on art forms, methodol- 
ogy, systems, aesthetics and various other aspects of music and musicology, he 
is the author of 'Sangeetha Sastra Saramu* (two volumes) in telugu published 
in 1986 - 89. Evolution and history of raga lakshanas, important concepts 
presented in various works from Natya Sastra to Sangraha Chudamani have 
been correlated and explained. The two volumes cover the entire gamut of the 
theory and practice of Carnatic music.' (TSP) 

Disc recordings : 

Janakiraman has given a general elaboration of the history and technical 
aspects of Varna with representative specimen in a video cassette titled 'On 
Varnam Through Ages' comprising four tana varnas in Ata tala, three pada 
varnas, etc. He explains that Varna is God's gift to world's musical thought 
peculiar to Carnatic music alone evolved early in the 1 8th century. The video 
documentation would seem to be the first of its kind for Carnatic music. 

Born of Dr. Rangaswamy Iyer and LR. Gowri Ammal, his education and 
musical training covered : 


B.A. from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati 
Sangeetha Siromani from Madras University 
Sangeetha Vidwan from the Govt. College of Carnatic Music, Madras 

(with distinction) 
Diploma from Kalakshetra 1 945-49. 

Had his vocal training under stalwarts like Alathur Venkatesa Ayyar, Sathur 
Krishna Ayyangar, Tiger Varadachariar and Budalur Krishnamurti Sastry and 
studied musicology under P.K. Rajagopala Ayyar and Prof. P. Sambamurty. 

Prof. Janakiraman is a senior and honoured musician and musicologist 
whose expert opinions are highly valued. A'serious research - oriented thinker, 
he is original in his constant endeavours to reach and lay open the hidden values 
and secrets of classical music. The musicologist-vocalist-pedagogue should 
naturally come up for the top honours of the Music Academy in the near future. 

JANAKI SUBRAMANIAM - VOCALIST (b. December 2, 1930) 

The dichotomy of the musical career of Janaki Subramaniam is greed, an 
insatiate longing to learn everything in music from everyone of merit and 
acceptance of Tyagaraja's 'Nidhi Chala Sukhama' dictum. Starting with her 
mother Lakshammal while yet a child, Janaki Subramaniam has had her training 
under Nemam Krishnamurty Bhagavatar, Manakkal Mani, Varadarajan and 
Apathsahayam Iyer, K. Lalitha, K.J. Nathan, Madhava Rao, Bangalore 
Nagarathinamma, Vaidyanatha Bhagavathar, Maharajapuram Viswanatha 
Ayyar, S.G. Krishnan and N.S. Ramachandran. Has she stopped? No. She, at 
the age of sixty, is a disciple of M.A. Narasimhachar and Mathur Shankaramurty. 
Not enough to quench her thirst, she learnt North Indian music from an equally 
impressive galaxy including Ustad Hafeez Ahmed Khan, etc. She is, besides, 
a graduate in arts and in music too. This is one aspect of her career. 

Endowed with a sweet voice, Janaki Subramaniam renders the kritis, etc. 
with understanding and feeling and her handling of sahitya is clear. She is one 
of the artistes who have proved that the concept 'Nidhi Chala Sukhame* by 
dedicating her music to philanthropy of various good causes from the Prime 
Minister's Relief Fund to the Kanchi Kamakoti Sri Sankara Mutt and 
Kanchipuram Sri Kamakshi Amman temple services. 'Serve God and His 
people through Melody' has been the keynote of her life throughout. That is 
the other aspect. 

Daughter of Prof. S. Ganapati Subramaniam of Presidency College, Madras 
and Lakshammal, brother's daughter of G.A. Natesan, Editor of the renowned 

anrl HQI inht<ar_ in_lau/ of Hr k' Rarniah thA 


her mother, her sisters too were well trained in music. Made her 
maiden performance at the age of seven at the Tyagaraja Samadhi, 
Tiruvaiyaru in the presence of the famed Bangalore Nagarathinamma fol- 
lowed by concerts at the Mambalam Siva Vishnu Temple and the Fine Arts 
Society, Madras. Hundreds of others ensued on the All India Radio and at 
various centres in India and abroad. While young, she had sung at the prayer 
meetings of Mahatma Gandhi. One photo of 1 951 shows her amidst stalwarts 
like Bangalore Nagarathinamma, Madurai Mani Ayyar, T.K. Jayarama Ayyar 
and Rajamanickam Pillai. Quite a proud image without doubt. Her acquain- 
tance with twelve languages enables lavish contacts in life. Had performed 
b e f ore the top political leaders of India. Has founded the Karnataka Kala 
Mandali and Bharati Mandram for bharatanatyam. 

Honours & Titles : Award from the Sangeet Natak Academy, Bihar 1 966. 

Bhakti Sangeetha Rathna by Shivananda Cultural 
Association, New Delhi 1 970. 

Honoured by Citizens Council, Rotary, Lions, etc., 
besides Awards from Music Academy and other 

Concert tours abroad : W. Germany, U.K., U.S.A., Switzerland (both Carnatic 

music and Shamegazal). 

Cassettes : Quite a large number of devotional and spiritual items. 

Geneva -based Chitra Subramaniam, the investigative journalist who hit the 
headlines in 1989-1990, is her daughter. 

R. S. JAYALAKSHMI - VEENA ARTISTE: (b. July 8, 1950) 

Parents : R. Subramaniam & Janaki Subramaniam. 

Musical training under : V. Raghavan, G, Lakshmanan and R. Pitchumani under 

a Government of India scholarship. 

Qualifications : Bachelor of Arts in Indian Music, Teacher's Training Course. 

Post held : Veena Assistant, University of Madras - 1 5 years. 

Jayalakshmi has been giving performances on the All India Radio, Sabhas, 
etc. and is one of the good performers. 


Adventure & Perfection 

'Adventure and Perfection are the twin essentials for 
musical effervescence. Adventure, of course, carries the risk of failure. 

But Perfection insures against it and wards off failure.' 
G.N. Balasubramaniain : (Source: Dr. M.L. Vasantakumari) 



Born of Gopala Ayyar and Savitri Ammal at Lalgudi, Jayaraman, popularly 
known as 'Lalgudi', has the unique distinction of being in the direct lineage of 
Rama Ayyar, a direct disciple of Tyagarajah. Rural environment, profound 
musical heritage and well-directed training under his father and his paternal 
uncle, Kandaswami Bhagavatar of Madurai gave young Jayaraman immense 
potential and scope for imbibing confidence and expertise to flower forth into a 
magnificent violinist of the day. If Ghanam Krishna Ayyar would run to the 
peaceful Kabistalam and Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar to unfrequented haunts; 
to have uninhibited practice with none but^God and one's own soul to witness, 
the then quiet Lalgudi provided Jayaraman with the captivating environment 
and unpolluted vigranti, a sine qua non for imbibing and assimilating soulful 
classical music. Rightly Jayaraman considers that the stress-prone urban 
climate of the present day is not conducive to intensive practice. He, his 
forefathers and great men like the maestros of Tirukodikaval, Tiruvaiyaru, 
Tiruppunthuruti, Maharajapuram and Mudicondan were fortunate in having the 
benefit of the exhilarating calm and pristine peace for intensive practice. He had 
also the benefit of assimilating the diverse styles of stalwarts while young. At 
home he took his diploma in vocal and graduated in violin under his father. 

Lalgudi Jayaraman's self-evident musical skill had perfected itself when he 
made his debut at the Perambur Sangeetha Sabha, Madras in 1 947. Next year 
he made his advent at the Music Academy, Madras. In the meantime he had 
played for Madurai Mani Ayyar, who had earlier heard his violin-play on the radio 
and told T.S. Parthasarathy, This young vidwan has a great future in the musical 
world 1 . G.N. Balasubramaniam, who heard him at the Music Academy, 
straightaway booked him for a concert on February 10,1947. Then ensued 
hundreds of concerts till 1986 when his switch-over to solos became complete 
and total. There was no musical worthy to whom he had not provided 
accompaniment from Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar, a giant 
among the old stalwarts to O.S. Tyagarajan of the present and few 
percussionists are there who had not played with or for him. An eka sanda grahi, 
his innate genius drew musical wisdom and inspiration while young from varied 
sources like Madurai Mani Ayyar, G.N. Balasubramaniam, Alathur Brothers, 
Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar and Palani Subramania Pillai. The challenging 
allocations with Flute Mali and Veena Balachander enabled him to find exacting 
rhythm and excellence at the best. Experience helped him to evolve a unique 
style, all his own; and he started giving solos with his sister, Srimathi 
Brahmanandam from 1958 and continue with his son G.J.R. Krishnan since 
1973 and his daughter J. Vijayalakshmi since 1979. 

Lalgudi evolved a unique presentation of the three V s - Violin, Veena and 
Venu (flute) and was one of the earliest to present jugalbandis with Ustad Vilayat 
Khan, Pandit Chaurasia and Amjad Ali Khan highlighting the complementary 


character of the raga-based twins, the Carnatic and the Hindustani systems. 

His musicianship is massive and his felicitous play vibrant, fresh, captivating 
and innovative. The tone is caressing, confident and soothing, He draws out 
beautiful phrases - at once sensitive and deep - all within the portals of true 
sampradaya. He has no faith in gimmicks. As Gowri Ramnarayan says, 'he has 
shown very effectively that one can set new trends and innovate to the delight 
of changing audiences the world over while retaining the essential traditionally 
of Carnatic classicism'. 

His views are robust and constructive. Says that classical music is like rare 
ayurvedic herbs to be cautiously nurtured and carefully protected, that learning 
vocal music is vital before taking to instruments to equip and enlighten oneself 
with sruti and swara perfection, sahitya suddham and gamaka variations and 
that a calm and peaceful atmosphere conduces concentrated practice and 
development of artistic excellence. Lalgudi echoes Bekara Rama Amatya and 
Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar when he avers that 'Music should not belittle 
Melody'. He is against the boisterous thumping variety of rendition like Veena 
Dhanammal as it fails to bring out the benign soul and tranquilizing charm of the 
classical. Accompanying stalwarts provides a challenge to the violinist but he 
has taken to solos totally as the entire panorama is before him to explore and 
project; and his image too admits only that. 


A talented composer, his varnams, tillanas and pada \%rnams became 
instantly popular. His Dwijavanti and Mohana Kalyani tillanas are masterpieces. 
He sees the beauty of the lyrics with a loving heart and presents them with such 
colourful artistry and melodic identity that the compositions come out with 
immaculate clarity highlighting the bhava in full glow. The compositions are 
very popular both with musicians and dancers. Here they are: 

Jatiswaram ; Rasikapriya Adi 

Varnams : Sixteen including- 

DevarMunivar Shanmugapriya - Adi 

Innam En Manam Charukesi - Adi 

SendilMevum Neelambari - Adi 

Tillanas : Behag, Hamir Kalyani, Maduvanti, Revati, Tilang, etc ragas- 

29 Nos. 

Kritis 5 and 

Orchestral pieces 5. 

'His varnams and tillanas serve as admirable models for intellectual 
appreciation and understanding. Have great pedagogic value.' (Sulochana 


Disc recordings: Quite a large number . 

'Lalgudi Pancha Ratna Kritis'ol Tyagaraja with notation (1971). 

Honours & Titles: 

Nadha Vidya Thilaka By Lalgudi Music Lovers' Association. 1 963 

Nadha Vidya Ratnakara By East West Exchange Inc. New York. 1 971 

Vadhya Sangeeta Kala Ratna By Bharati Society, New York 1 971 

Sangeetha Choodamani By Federation of Music Sabhas, Madras. 1 971 

Padma Sri By the President of India 1 972 

Sangeet Natak Akademy Award 1 978 

State Vidwan, Tamil Nadu By the Government of Tamil Nadu 1 979 

Kalaimamani By Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1 979 

Asthana Vidwan Urumalai Tlrupati Devasthanams 1 979 

Nadha Vendhan By Sangeethalaya, Kuala Lumpur 1 979 

Bharata Sangeeta Ratna By Sri Parthasarathi Gana Sabha, 

Bangalore 1 980 

National-level Award By Chowdiah Memorial 1 982 

Saptagiri Sangita Vidwan Mani By Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati 1 988 

Sangita Kalasagara By Visakha Music Academy 1 991 . 

Lalgudi Jayaraman is a Member of the Experts Committee of the Madras 
Music Academy and is the Convenor-Trustee, Kanchi-Kamakoti Peeta 
Karnataka Sangeetha Seva Trust. The presentation of an Italian violin by Yehudi 
Menuhin captivated by the vibrant excellence of his violin-play deserves special 

March 8, 1992 was a landmark in the sparkling life of Jayaraman when he 
gave his first, a scintillating vocal concert before a crowded house apparently 
'to express himself with a greater degree of fulfilment and in a search for a larger 
identity. Surprisingly the concert revealed a voice full of depth and flexibility, a 
double-reed tone producing^ an invigorating blend of soaring lifts, elegant 
moods and emphatic thrusts' (KSM). (It was no casual stunt as those of a Sunil 
Gavaskar jocularly mimicking the bowling of Abdul Khader or of a Javed Mianded 
monkeying the style of Kiran More.) The vidwan was at the real best confident 
of his style born of the rich legacy compounded by his own proud experiences 
of four decades and a half. 

Concert tours: 

U.SA, U.K. (Edinborough Music Festival 1965 & Festival of India 1982), 
Europe, Canada, Middle East, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Phillipines, etc. 



Quite a number including his sister, son and daughter. The maestro regrets 
that many a competent trainee switches over to giving concerts before reaching 
the acme of perfection. 

A thoroughly inspired violinist, vocalist and teacher, 'Lalgudi' combines the 
affluence of an intellectual with effulgent mastery and radiant command of the 
art, sure competence and exuberent style and enjoys wide popularity and 
respect. A genius, he is a creative artiste; his soullf ul rendition impregnates the 
mind with ecstatic fulfilment satisfying Paul Brunton's norm: 

' What is the final call of true art ? 
Not to the work which expresses it ; 
But to the spirit which inspires it, 
The divine source of which it reminds us. ' 

Art is best when it liberates, motivates and transports the listener to 
ever-fresh realms of mysteriously sweet exhilaration exposed to inspired 
flashes. Jayaraman has that art. He is the guiding spirit behind the annual 
celebrations of the Festival of the Trinity at Tiruvarur. 



Thiruvizha* means Festival and when the birth-place of Jayasankar in 
Allepey district of Kerala is itself called so, naturally music has to be an innate 
urge and qualification. His father and guru, Tiruvizha Raghava Panicker had 
won many awards and honours. Jayasankar's musical training quite strangely 
kept pace with his scholastic studies. In 1962, he became the first graduate 
nagaswara vidwan with Music and Philosophy as his subjects. He got his 
'Ganabhooshanam' (Vocal) diploma from Tirupunithura R.L.V. Music Academy 
and 'Ganapraveena' from Sri Swati Tirunal Sangeetha College, Trivandrum in 

He made his debut accompanying the famous nagaswara maestro, 
Ambalapuzha Sankaranarayana Panicker at Kayamkulam in 1 952 and got a gold 
medal from the maestro. 1956 saw him winning the All India Radio contest 
medal, His desire not to sacrifice his college course deprived him of the benefit 
of availing the Central Government Scholarship for advanced training in 1958. 

Tiruvizha Jayasankar is a Staff Artiste with the All India Radio since 1965 
and has given concerts all over India and at all the principal sabhas, All India 
Radio, television, etc. In legal parlance, a vested interest is created if 
uninterrupted user continues for twelve years and over. Jayasankar is a regular 


performer for twelve years at the famous temples of Lord Muruga at Palani and 
Tiruchendur. Does he not acquire a right to perform annually before the Celestial 
Lord of Beauty and Benediction? Likewise, the Tamil Isai Annual Music Festival 
commences with his concert only since 1974. 

Drawing inspiration from the Master of Melody T.N. Rajarathinam, he 
availed of violin and mridangam in lieu of tavil at Madras in 1970 as 

Honours and Titles: 

Sunadhabhushana by Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar 

at Madras , 1970. 

Award by Kerala Sangeetha Nataka Academy 1 982. 

Nagaswara Praveena by the Fine Arts Society, Ernakulam 1 982 

Nagaswara Isaimani, -i 

Nadaswara Isai Arasu j by Mohanur Kanthamalai Murugan Koil 
Nagaswara Ratna by the Calicut Marar Kshema Sabha, 

Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1 992. 

Concert tours: 

Paris - Festival of India in 1985 
Berlin, Leipzig, Dresden, etc. 

Disc recordings : 

Quite a number including two with vocal support by S. Janaki and Sundararaj'an with 
Valayapatti Subramaniam on tavil 

Films : 

1 Bhaja Govindam ' with Yesudas as vocalist and 
' Bala Parikshai ' with T.M. Soundara Rajan and P. Suseela as vocalists 
1 Swara Raga Sudha ' with his participation has been brought out in 
four languages. 

Jayasankar has inherited a rich legacy of musical talents and is one of the 
most popular nagaswara artistes in good demand. 




Stated to be the only saxophonist in Carnatic music, Gopalnath hails from a 
nagaswara family of Mangalore. Known for his lyrical music on saxophone, his 
proficiency enabled him to participate in the Jazz India Music Festival and the 
International Music Festival in Czechoslovakia. Has been giving concerts on 
the All India Radio, Doordarshan, etc. 


A distinguished teacher who has embellished many teaching assignments 
in Madras, Kalidas Nilakanta Ayyar belongs " to the Manambuchavadi 
Venkatasubbier line of Tyagaraja's disciples. Had his studies in music under his 
father Narayanaswami Ayyar and joined the Kalakshetra, Madras as teacher. 
He has notated several of Ramaswamy Sivan's songs adding chitta swaras. 
Was Teacher-Principal, Music Academy College and Professor of Music at the 
University of Madras. 


Place of birth: Pandiswara near Kundapur in Karnataka 

Name of father: Puttayya 

A musician with a fine personality, he joined while young the dramatic troupe 
of Ranganatha Bhatta and donned lead roles and was famous for playing lady 
characters. Simultaneously he learnt Carnatic and Hindustani music and was 
giving concerts. Kalinga Rao went over to Madras and joined the Hindi Prachar 
Sabha and was composing songs for dramas introducing Western styles too. 
He was a popular radio artiste. 

KALLADAR - TAMIL MUSICOLOGIST : (8th or 11th century A.D.) 

Kafladam was his native village as well as the name of his work in tamil. 
Kalladam katravarodu malladadhe (Don't enter into argument with one who has 
mastered Kalladam) is a proverb. He is brought into this book for his very 
succinct summary of "Musicians' faults" and The Ten Beauties of Music' in his 
work Agapporul Nool. 


Faults of Musicians: 

11 Vayirukuzhi vangi, azhumugam kattadhu 
Nagi, kakuli, vedikural, veliai 
PegakkizhiQai, orupuram ottal 
Nettuyirppu eridhal, erindhu nindru erattal 
Osai ezhidhal, kazhinokku ennap 
Peqaru kuravum aagodum matri. " 

(Contracting the belly, weeping facial expression, 

slipping from one tanam to another, roaring like a ghost, 

bland singing devoid of 'mathrai, tanam, etc/, 

adopting a hard bass tone, sidelining the soul of musical rendition, 

slipping from one pan/7 to another, tone resembling crow's, 

bristling multiplicity of tones, 

casual approach or laziness, 

uncontrolled voice, opening mouth uncouthly, 

absence of concentration and trembling of tuft 



The last of the faults has not much currency now as tufts are a vanishing 

Ten Beauties of Music : 

" Vandin thariyum kanja naadhamum 
eral van nifaiyum kazhai elal vizhvadhum 
Aruvi ogaiyum muzhavin muzhakkamum 
Valampuri gathamum verukinpunarchiyum 
Innum endrigaiyappap palliya vidhiyodu 
Mandharam madhiyam tharam eval moondrum 
Thullal Thoongal thellithin melidhal 
Koodiya ghanam anbodu parava. " 

(Humming of the beetle, 

resonant sound of bronze instruments, 

fish-picker's swiftness and mode, 

the fall of the bamboo leaf 

gamaka ornamentation in avarohana - 

sound of the rivulet, spring channel 

- voice modulation -, 

sound of large percussive instruments, 

- contrasting rendition -, 
sound of valampuri conch, 
passionate calls of the male cat in heat 

- aggressive grip and emphasis , 


adopting good raga, sahitya and methods 
covering lower, middle and upper octaves, 
fleeting incursions, contrasting with 
slow delineations in the three octaves, 
soft fine-tuning, mellifluous tone, 
let music with these attributes flourish ! 

How will it then be? 

It will be like a rain of honey on a hillock of sugar 1 - (garukkarai kundrir then 
mazhai nandrena), says Kalladar. 

Prof. S. KALPAKAM - VIOLINIST: (b. September 21, 1917) 

Prof. S. Kalpakam, M.A., B.G.L, was Professsor in Music for about twenty 
years in S.P.W. College, Tirupati and was on the Board of Studies in Music, Sri 
Venkateswara University. She has been providing violin accompaniment to 
prominent musicians and giving solo recitals. Has set to tune compositions of 
Annamacharya in the original ragas indicated in the copper plates on which 
12,000 songs of the Bard are inscribed and which are in the possession of 
Tirumalai Tirupati Devasthanams now. A disciple of Dwaram Venkataswami 
Naidu, Kalpakam learnt vocal music also and is active enough to give recitals. 


Parents : Seetharaman and Abhayambal 

Place of birth ; Chetalapatti , Tanjore district 

Kalpakam Swaminathan had her musical training initially under her mother 
and later music with veena under Anantakrishna Ayyar, T.L. VenkataramaAyyar, 
Budalur Krishnarnoorti Sastri and Musiri Subramania Ayyar. Her training in 
music has thus been under highly competent stalwarts. Started giving radio 
concerts from the age of twelve. An authority in Dikshitar kritis, she is a staunch 
devotee of traditional music and methods. 

Has been Professor in Veena, Government College of Carnatic Music, 
Madras (now a training centre). Has served in several selection committees. 
She is one of the respected members of the musical fraternity. 


Titles and Honours : Kalairnamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 

Mandram in 1980. 

Certificate of Merit from the Music Academy in 1 989. 
Disc recordings. 




Place of birth : Manjappara in Palghat. 

Name of father & guru : M.K. Anantarama Bhagavatar, 

VeenaVidwan of Travancore Palace. 

Academic Qualification : Intermediate (Collegiate) 

Posts held : Music Professor at the Swati Tirunal Academy, 

Trivandrum from its inception to 1 944. 

Professor of Music, Central College of Carnatic Music, 
Madras- 1949-1967 

Principal, Sri Ramanathan College of Music, Ceylon - 


Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University, U.S.A. 
Honours & Titles : Kerala Sangeeth Nataka Mandram Award, 1 962 

Asthana Vidwan, Travancore Palace. 
Concert tours : Ceylon and USA. 

Disc recordings : 

LPR from his performance in 1973 at the United Nations with his daughter Lakshmi 

Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar hailed from a family of veena vidwans and was 
a sixth generation artiste. Grandfather Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar (1 847 - 1 891 ) 
was famous for his original style of veena play, which came to be hailed as the 
Travancore style and his great grandfather Venkitadri Bhagavatar (1 81 4 - 1 884) 
was a Court musician during Swati Tirunal's reign, M.A. Kalyanakrishna 
Bhagavatar was a prominent and popular veena vidwan, equally felicitous in 
giving vocal concerts. He had given a large number of concerts on the All India 
Radio and elsewhere. The disciples of the life-long veena teacher included 
Maharani Kartigai Tirunal, daughter Lakshmi Ranganathan and Rajeswari 
Menon, a performing artiste. P. Hariharan says, 'He sang whatever he could 
play on veena and played on veena whatever he could sing'. He was a favourite 
with all from his young days and was called by the pet name of 'Krishna Mani'. 


(b.June 6, 1947) 

Place of birth Tiruvalaputhur 

Parents : V. Arunachalam Pillai - Rajamani AmmaL 

Musical heritage : Vaithilingam*Pillai, grandfather was mridangist. His 

brother Pasupathia Pillai was a tavil stalwart of his 

Musical training : Under maternal uncle N.Kadirvel Pillai - Three years 

Under Pasupathia Pillai, great grandfather at - 


Kaliamurthy is a distinguished artiste in tavil providing 'special' tavil 
accompaniment ('Special' in percussion circles denotes selection-grade status 
and seniority) to the nagaswaram maestros of Tiruvenkadu, Tiruvizhimalalai, 
Namagiripettai, etc. and to Madurai Brothers and Clarinet A.K.C. Natarajan. 
Has coached about thirty tavil trainees. Has participated in music festivals. He 
was a judge in the Local Audition Committee of All India Radio. 

Concert tours ; Sri Lanka, U.S.A., Canada 

Titles : 

Layagnana Tavil Arasu by Sri Venkateswara Bhakta Sabha, Madras, 1968 

Sunatha Tavil Isai Chakravarti 

Janaranja Tavil Isai Chakravarti 

Din Dama Kalanipuna Makuda Ratna 

Bala Bhishveswara by Vidwans of Karnataka State. 

Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1981 . 

Laya Selvam by Muthamizh Peravai in 1983. 


A graduate in music of the Madras University, Kalyani Ganesan had her 
further training at the Government Music College, Madras and got the Sangita 
Vidwan diploma in 1967 and did her advanced training also there. Balambal 
and M.A. Kalyanakrishna Bhagavathar were her tutors in veena. She is giving 
concerts on the All India Radio, etc., and is a lecturer in veena at the Government 
Music Training Centre, Madras. 

Concert tours : Canada. 

* * * 


Place of birth : Trivandrum 

Parents : K.V. Iyer and V. Janaki 

Qualifications : Gana Bhooshana in Veena from the Swati Tirunal Music 

College, Trivandrum. 

Vidwan (Advanced Course) in Vocal Music from same 

Kalyani Sharma had the benefit of training when Dr, Semmangudi Srinivasa 
Ayyar and K.S. Narayanaswami were at the College. She had training under 
Brinda and Mukta in padams and javalis. 

Posts held : Junior Professor, Swati Technical Music College, 


Promoted as Professor but resigned. 
Teacher in Music, Bharatiya Music School, 

Bombay 1964-1970 


Teacher & now Head of Veena Section, 
Shanmukhananda Sabha Music School, Bombay 

from 1971. 

Kalyani Sharma has been giving concerts since 1S57 in sabhas and fo 
India Radio. Has a good repertoire and imaginative rendition. Has won pri; 
Enjoys a sweet voice. 

Concert tours : U.S.A. and Singapore. 


A prominent composer of Karnataka in Sanskrit and telugu, Kamakoti S< 
had brought out many songs that are now in constant usage like - 

Nirupamana in Madyamavati 

Hamapati in Bhairaviand 

Devadhi Deva in Todi 


* Kamala Viswanathan studied music with P. Balakrishnan, Musiri Subram< 
Ayyar, and M.A. Kalyanakrishna Bhagavathar at the Government Music Coll 
and got Vidwan' title in veena and vocal. A performing artiste on the All Ir 
Radio and elsewhere. Had won prizes in the sixties. 


Place of birth : Kalpati 

Parents : Venkataramana Ayyar, Dharmadhikari of Sringeri Ms 

and Anandalakshmi Ammal. 

Kanchana is a village gifted to Venkataramana Ayyar by the Srin 
Acharya. The Vainika mother taught him music and Venkatasubraman; 
learnt further under Chitrakodi Narayana Sastri, Chembai Vaidyam 
Bhagavatar and G.N. Balasubramaniam. Made his debut at the fam 
Mookambika temple and has been giving numerous concerts with emir 
accompanists. He established the Lakshmi Narayana Sangita Sabhs 
gurukula institution which trains numerous disciples. He enjoys a plea 
voice, good style of rendition and innovative capabilities. His son Subburati 
is a violin vidwan. 


K.V. KANTHAMANI - VEENA VIDVAMSINI : (b. January 14, 1923) 

Born at : Siruvathur In South Arcot district, 

of : Flute vidwan Venkataramayyar & Saradamba. 

Had her training : in vocal with her father and 

in veena with Pondicherry H. Ramakrishna Bhagavatar 
and Veena Varadayya of Cuddalore. 

She had gurukulavasa training for five years with Karaikudi Sambasiva 
Ayyar. Made her debut at Tirupadiripuliyur and has given a large number of 
concerts in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and on the All India Radio. At Jaffna 
she got the title of 'Yazhisai Vallar' and has been a teacher in veena in different 


(b.October 25, 1925) 

Karaikudiyar, meaning one who hails from Karaikudi, actually should have 
been 'Pallathurar' since Chandramouli was born at nearby Pallathur, of 
Rarnachandra Ayyar and Balambal and is related to the Karaikudi Veena 
Brothers. Had his training under Karaikudi Natesa Ayyar and Karaikudi 
Kalaimamani Muthu Ayyar. Chandramouli claims that the gurukulavasa helped 
him immensely to flower into a prominent percussionist. Made his debut at the 
age of sixteen providing accompaniment to harikatha exponent Rarnachandra 
Bhagavatar along with his guru at Kottaiyur. Has been working as Professor 
and Head of the Department of Mridangam, Shanmukhananda Sangeetha 
Sabha, Bombay for the last seventeen years. 

Concert tours : Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia* Thailand, Australia. 

K.R. Chandramouli suggests that some senior mridangam artistes could 
jointly frame and publish a uniform regular basic syllabus for students 
undergoing training in the various paddhati(s). 

Path to Erudition 

Joe Louis', the magnificent boxer said: 

* Everyone wants to go to Heaven; 
But few wants to die! ' 

Even so, some capable, promising juniors do not seem to stay on to complete 
their apprenticeship as they could not withstand the lure of publicity, income and 
media praise. Lacking expertise and depth, these flowers fade out before attaining 
full bloom. 



A. Sivasubramaniani alias Chinnafhambi Plllai: (Jan. 1897 - Mar. 9, 1942) 

B. Kannappa Piliai (June 27, 1891 - July 13, 1944) 

A B 

Native Place : Keeranur, Nannilam taluk, Sirupuliyur. Belonged to 

Tanjore district Pandanallur, a nursery of 


Parentage : Pallavi Govinda Nainakarar & Kandaswaml Piliai and 

Sundarammal. (Father was Marimuthu Ammal 

Asthana Vidwan, Chunambedu 

Musical training Father Govinda Nainakarar, Keeranur Muthu 

under : Kanchi Nama Piliai, Nainakarar and 

Keeranur Muthu Nainakarar. Mannargudi Chinna 


Both had thus common training under Keeranur Muthu Nainakarar but were 
giving recitals separately. Later they combined and under the name 'Keeranur 
Brothers' made their debut at the marriage of Tiruvidaimarudur P.S. Veeruswami 
Piliai, who too rose to the top soon after. 

The brothers were a popular duo and were in good demand, Had played at 
the memorable All India Music Conference, 1927 held along with the All India 
Congress Committee session at Madras. Both were individually capable 
vidwans. Chinnathambi had given vocal concerts also and provided tavil 
accompaniment to others. T.N. Rajarathinam brought out a special 
commemoration volume to condole Chinnathambi's death. Vedaranyam 
Vedamurthi and several others were Chinnathambi's disciples. 

The eminent nagaswaram duo had constant periods of estrangement; Sruti 
layam and Sruti bhedam had co-existed by turns! Artistes who fare well as duo 
fare ill individually when they fall asunder similar to doubles players in sport 

Title : 

' Sabha Ranjitha Bhooshanam ' in 1937. 
Disc recordings. 


I. KESI - FLAUTIST: (b. April 20, 1921) 

Hails from : Palamaneri, Tanjore dt 

N. Kesi learnt vocal music under Jalra Gopala Ayyar, when Flute Mahalingam 

Mali) was learning flute under the same guru. She felt attracted to the flute 

endition of Mali. However, she had to shift her musical training from Jalra 

aopala Ayyar at Nagapattinam to Palamaneri Swaminatha Ayyar at Tanjore. 

Jwaminatha Ayyar was a Sangita Kalanidhi and a prominent vidwan. Finally 

he became a disciple of Mali himself in 1943 at Madras, circumstances 

avouring it with the transfer of her husband to the City. Earlier too, she had 

seen giving flute concerts and with the intensive training under and imbibing the 

style of Mali, she began giving concerts in sabhas and elsewhere in large 

lumbers. Mali had so much confidence in her that at the Tambaram Sangeetha 

3abha in 1957 he announced that he was not giving the concert and that Kesi 

/vould play instead with the accompanists M.S. Gopalakrishnan and Ramnad 

Eswaran on violin and mridangam respectively! She had played with her guru 

Mali in about twenty concerts and they were a challenging task well executed 

by her. 

A torch-bearer of Mali style, she is one of the popular flautists who brings 
out the fragrant shades of melody with control over laya. She is training a large 
number of disciples. Was Visiting Professor for two months in the Government 
College of Carnatic Music and is on the Audition Committee of the All India Radio, 

Disc recordings. 
Concert tours : 

Sri Lanka in 1960, Europe in 1964. 

Kesi is one of the select prominent, lady flautists and perhaps the only one 
who has been giving concerts for five decades. One of her disciples G.Sridhar 
gave a twenty-four hours recital at the Madhava Perumal Koil, Madras, on 
September?, 1991. 


Son of Venkatasubba Dasa, Kesavadasa was a famous composer in 
kannada. Karnataka Bhakta Vijaya, Sri Haridasa Sahitya and Sri 
Raghuvamsa Vijaya are all his creations. 



Musical heritage : Father Ramaswamayya was a vocalist: 

Grandfather Nagappa was a a kanjira player. 

Another grandfather Venkataramayya was a composer. 
Musical training under : Chicka Rama Rao and Bidaram Krishnappa. 

Keshavamurthy attained mastery in violin play while still young and was a 
constant accompanist to reputed musicians. In 1930 he was with the melody - 
king B.S. Raja Ayyangar and went round with him for concerts. A popular soloist, 
he has given a large number of concerts on the radio, television and sabhas in 
addition to many lecture - demonstrations which are a delight to rnusic-lovers, 
He has been training many disciples. 

M. Surya Prasad records in the 'Hindu ' that the 76-year old maestro even 
today has a rare and youthful vigour and verve in playing on a seven-stringed 
violin and after T. Chowdiah and Ratnagiri Subba Sastry, it is he who has held 
the baton intact. His exposition is rich in the composite eloquence of bhava, 
raga and tala. 

Honours & Titles: Karnataka Sangeetha Nritya Academy Award 1 980. 

T. Chowdiah Memorial (State Level) Award 1 982. 
Sangita Vidyasagara, etc. 

Sangeetha Kalaratna from the Bangalore Gayana 
Samaja 1991. 

Rudrapatnam in Hasan district is a cradle of musicians and Keshavamurthy 
is one of its distinguished sons. He has published as many as eighteen books 
in kannada on sangita. 

Disc recordings number six. 

Tlruppalll Ezhucchi: 

One can be shaken out of slumber if really asleep but not when he feigns to be so. 
Perhaps the Lord of the Universe has the merit of falling under the latter category. 
Otherwise why should so many saints sing Tiruppalli Ezhucchi' to wake Him up? 

Sage Viswamitra 
Vishnu Siddhar 
Thondaradipodi Azhwar and 
Manickavachakar have done the exercise. 

Andal approached the devotees in a bid to wake them up in her Tiruppavai*. 



(b. 1900) 

Age does not wither the infinite charm gi his musical discourses nor slacken 
the tempo of his crusades for spreading spiritual and moral precepts and 
message around the tamil-knowing world. He has the unique distinction of 
drawing the largest crowds consistently for nearly seven decades. One could 
witness him bubbling with wit and humour like a child, jostling around cities and 
villages in different parts of the world like a youth and pouring out ancient wisdom 
drawn from the sacred lore of India filtered in the context of modern political, 
social and cultural happenings like an aged seer. He exhibits his firm faith and 
eternal hope in the future of Bharath like the saints of old. His cutting, yet 
delicious puns in spiritual capsules bringing to ridicule self-righteous and pseudo 
political and social leaders are winsome. His memory is astonishingly fresh. 
His command of tamil is total and of Sanskrit much. His knowledge of the theory 
of music is rich. Though he lost the feminine grace of his voice long back, still 
at the age of eighty-six, he gives the outline and lead to his accompanists to 
elaborate. He is a master of discoursers commanding absolute respect from all 
sections of the public and popularity from every segment .of the community. His 
contribution in the field of discourses is colossal. Above all, he had placed his 
art and his power at the service of the Lord and his favourite saints 
Arunagirinathar and Vadalur Ramalinga Swamigal. The number of renovation 
of temples and other good causes espoused by him is impressive. Physically 
he is tall and massive with a liberal annointment of sacred ash (vibhuti). The 
massive exterior encases a good, affable, gracious and benevolent soul. 

He is Tirumuruga Kirupananda Variar, son of Mallaya Das Bhagavatar, a 
musical discourser and Kanakavalli Ammal. He had a very rigorous, full-time 
training in tamil, tamil hymns and music under his father and was not allowed to 
play. (Without doubt, he would have equally become a very good athlete but for 
this ban while young.) At the age of twelve, he could command ten thousand 
hymns and songs. He followed his father giving voice-support. Learnt 
Tiruppugazh from Madurai Sami Ayyar and got 'diksha' as was the practice in 
Veera Saiva families from Siddhanta Sarabham Palani Esana Sivachariar 
Swamigal, He studied veena under a local teacher for a while and later under 
Tenmatam Srinivasachariar to whom Variar has the greatest respect. He would 
pay obeisance to him twice - at the beginning and at the end of his daily tuitions. 

1 Kirupananda, why do you perform namaskars twice? 1 

' Swamigale, people take coffee dozens of times. Can I not pay obeisance at least twice 
to my respected Guru ? ', was the innocent reply. 

This is, in essence, his approach still. The teacher loved him and he revered 
the guru. As he was to take leave after his training, he had little money to give 
as guru-dakshina and his father sent him just two dhotis to be presented. The 


lad was sad. Availability of resources did not match his inclinations. Just then, 
he got a good offer to perform some musical discourses and with Rs. forty got 
from them, he purchased a three-sovereign chain and a dollar and with the usual 
auspicious betel, etc., he was able to substantially satisfy his ambition to make 
a good present to his veena guru. When the guru died, he helped his family too. 
Once his father took him to Veena Seshanna and got a veena from him. 

It is noteworthy to mention that he has not started any sect while that is very 
easy for him with his immense knowledge, wide popularity and vast following. 
He reflects the immense wisdom of Hindu religion, seers and scriptures and as 
a musician, he is a traditionalist. The following anecdote indicates the firm faith 
reposed particularly by women in his discourses: 

Municipal Vice-Chairman Shanmugham Pillai jocularly found fault with him 
once for giving wrong advice to women. How ? 

1 You have spoilt the outlook and conduct of my wife ! She heard your discourse 
yesterday evening. This morning at 5 am., she poured chill water on my legs while I 
was asleep and when questioned on her madness, she avers that you had advised 
women to follow Anasuya's devotion to her spouse-saint! I do not know how many 
other women had woken up so early and poured cold water on the legs of their sleeping 
husbands and decorated them with flowers ! ' 

Concert tours: 

Many countries in different continents. 
Titles & Honours : 

These have little meaning to a soul like Variar. Some are given here : 

Tlruppugazh Jyoti \ 

Pravachana Samrat / B V Swami Sivananda Saraswati, 


Arulmozhi Arasu 

Saraswati Katakshamrutham 

Isai Perarignar 
Tiruppani Chakravarti & 
Tiruppani Sarabham 
Sorpozhivu Vallal 

By Head of Sri Tirugnana Sambandar Mutt, 


By Sri Paramacharyal, Senior Sankaracharya, 


By the Jeer, Ahobhila Mutt, 

By Tamil Isai Mandram, Madras. 

By Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. 

By Adheenakartar, Dharmapuram Mutt. 

By Bhavani Tirumurai Kazhagam. 

By Velur Shanmugha Adiyar Sangham. 


Variar has not escaped from the pressures of well-meaning admirers to 
appear in cinemas. Thunaivan 5 , Tiruvarul' and 'Deivam' have the distinction of 
his appearance. 

He is economic in his personal life and spends his large earnings for the 
good of his kith and kin and the numerous public causes he espouses. Eminent 
Editor, Kalki Krishnamurti wrote full four decades back : 

1 How an individual like Variar could accomplish individually the entire construction of 
Satya Gnana Sabha at Vadalur passes comprehension. When one sees the multi -sided 
activities of Variar, he has perforce to conclude that - 

"Variar is not an individual at all ; 
He is a mighty Institution himself." ' 

Variar is going strong rich with the spoils of time, unrolling the ample pages 
of his deep erudition and refined knowledge, scattering plenty amidst 
tamil-speaking crowds. In his own words, 'whether the sun rises or not, there 
is invariably a daily lecture of his'. What is the secret of his ready wit, ample 
knowledge and envious memory ? ' Brahmacharya ' (celibacy), is his answer! 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar too observed celibacy to uphold his service to music,- 
(celibacy is used in the sense of refraining from sexual indulgence.) 

Richard, the Coeurde Lion was at home, it is said, on his horseback. Variar, 
undoubtedly a giant among musical discoursers, is at home only in the midst of 
vast crowds sharing his profound preponderant spiritual wisdom with them. For 
over sixty-seven years, he has been on his peripatetic rounds and is indeed a 
KSHETRAGNA. The number of his lectures should find an entry in the Guinness 
Book of Records. 


To Kohala several works are ascribed such as - 

Kohalamata Kohaliya Kohala Rahasya 

Tala Lakshana Abhinaya Sastra Sangita Meru 

Dattila Kohaliyam 

Kohala is one of the ancient authorities but his period could not be fixed with 
certainty. Prof. R. Satyanarayana says: 

'Bharata promises that the rest of the science of dramaturgy would be 
revealed by Kohala. Kalinatha extracts from Sangita Meru ascribed to Kohala, 
Matanga and others too extract from his works.' Such bristling factors confound 
efforts to fix the period of the eminent author, it is said. 


UMAYALPURAM N. KOTH ANDARAMA AYYAR * (Oct 27, 1 889-c. 1 975) 


Son of Ghatam Narayana Ayyar, Kothandarama Ayyar learnt ghatam and 
mridangam under his father and had his training in music under Veena 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar. One of the prominent percussionists of his day, he was 
noted for his excellent fingering, rhythm and tonal development on the mud pot 
(ghatam). He developed a new and basic 'sollut called 'tharikattu' with new 
fingering and a variety of effects on the pot with remarkable tempo and clarity 
of sound. In the course of his play, he used to throw the pot up to provide a 
different sound to the delight of the audience. He had accompanied most of the 
top artistes and was one of the few who improved the image of ghatam artistes. 
Umayalpuram K. Narayanaswamy is carrying on the percussive legacy of the 
family. (Page 112 of 'A Garland 'modified.) 

Concert Tours : Singapore, U.K. and Germany 


Krishna Ayyar hailed from Ramanathapuram and is the composer of kritis 


- Sri Rukmani Manirangu raga and 

Karunavasa Abhogi raga 

Alathur Venkatesa Ayyar has notated his songs. 


Krishna Ayyar had his initial training under Aiappuzha Annadorai Bhagav^tar 
and then left Mylattur for Tanjore at the age of twenty or twenty-two, as Tanjore 
had then a galaxy of percussionists. He joined the celebrated Tanjore Krishna 
Bhagavatar's team of accompanists which included the vocal - support 
musicians Tanjore Panchapakesa Bhagavatar and Marudappa pillai. Later he 
entered the concert stage accompanying all top musicians. His play was noted 
for 'Nadha suddham, Kalapramana suddham, adjustability and anticipation'. His 
exhilarative play for pallavis, which were then most prominent, was very good. 


Krishna Ayya is said to belong to the celebrated Adippayya family of 
musicians and composers. An expert in tala, Ayya excelled in his permutations 


and combinations providing blistering variations and ultimate synchronisation. 
He was known for his Saptataleswaram. Mummadi Krishna Raja Wodeyar made 
him his Asthana vidwan. 


Had his initial training with his father and mridangam vidwan, Venkataramiah. 
Musical legacy spurred him on to take advanced training under the renowned 
T. Chowdiah along with Alagiriswamy, who is now a prominent performing 
violinist. Joined the Corporation High School, Bangalore in 1949. Was 
Professor in a Music College. H.V. Krishnamurti along with Veerabhadriah and 
Anoor Ramakrishna has been giving trio-violin concerts and had distinguished 
mridangists like Palghat Mani Ayyar and Umayalpuram Sivaraman as 
accompanists. He is both a good soloist and an accompanist. 


Born at Koilamma near Palghat, K.N. Krishnamurty had his musical training 
under his father Narayana Ayyar first and then under Palghat Kunjumani and 
Palghat Mani Ayyar. Is a prominent mridangam and ghatam vidwan. Was 
employed in Firestone Tyres. 

Concert Tours : Singapore, Malaysia and Europe. 

K.S. KRISHNAMOORTI - COMPOSER. (b. May 19, 1914). 

Krishnamoorti was born at Kumbakonam and is a prolific writer and his works 

Andaman Kaithi - drama 1 944 

Isai Inbam - songs 1 945 

Kalaivanan - drama 1 946 

Amudha Tamilisai - songs 1 980 

'Andaman Kaithi 1 won the prize of the Tamil Nadu Government. Has received 
the Sangita Natak Academy Award for his drama works. His songs had been 
handled by eminent musicians. His songs were set to tune by Guruvayur 
Kalaimamani Ponnammal. Melakaveri A.R. Kannan had assisted them in 
swara-tala adornments to the songs. Krishnamoorti had been honoured with the 
title of 'Kalaimamani 1 by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. The songs 
are devotional with the beauty of yati prasa' 


C. KRISHNAMURTY - VAINIKA : ( b. 1934 - July 16, 1992 ) 

C. Krishnamurty hails from a well-known family of veena , artistes. 
Cheluvarayaswamy, his father and guru was a veena artiste, musicologist and 
a disciple of V. Venkatagiriappa. Krishnamurty too had his gurukulayasam under 
Venkatagiriappa till he became the seniormost disciple of Dr. Doreswamy 
lyengar. He has been giving concerts on the All India Radio, Television and 
elsewhere both on national programmes and regional items. He has been 
training a number of disciples both Indian and foreign. He is on the staff of All 
India Radio for the last eighteen years, 

Concert Tours : Festival of India, USSR, 1987 

Festival of India, Germany in Pancha Veena' concert 

Titles : 

Apart from recognition with the Shanmugavadivu Award in 1980 from the 
Music Academy, Madras and an honour from the Sankaracharya of Sringeri, he 
received the State-Level Chowdiah Memorial Award, 1992 from the Academy 
of Music, Bangalore. 

KRISHNAGANAM MAESTRO : (1921 - Octr. 1, 1982) 

Uthukadu is one of God's creations where melody ruled in all its radiant 
beauty. Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar (1700-1765) is one of the immortals 
among musical composers in tamil and Sanskrit whose songs on Lord Krishna 
stand unmatched for beauty, fragrance of conception and felicity of expression. 
Pieces like Taye Yasoda (Todi), Palvadiyum (Natakurinji) and Alai Payude 
(Kanada) continue to thrill thousands. Divine ecstasy popular appeal, deep 
emotions and easy-paced tamil diction coupled with apt raga swaroopas 
created by him enthral the elite and the lay alike. Krishnamoorty Bhagavatar 
was a descendant in the sixth generation of the brother of Venkatasubba Ayyar, 
who was a celibate. 

Bhagavatar kept alive the Uthukadu tradition of divine melody and 'Krishna 
consciousness 1 for several decades. Blessed with a melodic, mellifluous voice, 
conjuring presentation, elegant yet simple exposition and direct and innocent 
appeal to the finer and nobler sentiments of the audience distinguished his 
musical discourses. The Sage of Kanchi, the Paramacharyal advised him, 
initially a vocalist, to take to discourses and Bhagavatar became the prime 
mouthpiece of Uthukadu compositions. He resurrected them all and brought 
them to current use. His inspiring discourses were soulful but Fortune did not 
smile on him. He did not opt for the usual audience - response expediencies. 


He was stoic, conservative and would not take even a violin. He carried on solo 
with conviction but it cost him dearly and the art too had lost much. Had he taken 
some accompanists, he would have surely dwarfed others but he was destined 
to be a victim of his own decision. The world too did not help him much. 

Son of Gopala Ayyar and Janaki Ammal, he was born at Sembavali in 
Papanasam taluk, Thanjavur district/He stayed at Needamangalam and came 
to be called 'Needamangalam Bhagavatar'. If celestial Krishna was the eighth 
child to his parents, this Needamangalam Krishna too was the eight child to his 
parents. Probably this too had its subtle impact on him apart from the legacy of 
the family and his musical leanings and longings in promoting him as the 
effective instrument to popularise the Krishna Gana songs of his illustrious 
ancestor. It is significant that he was named after the Lord of the Bhagawad 

He made his late debut at Nungambakkam in Madras in his thirtieth year yvith 
Krishna Ganam songs. Authentic presentation with enchanting melodic content 
featured his musical discourses and he came to be described as a re-birth of 
the illustrious Uthukadu Composer. The Straits Times, Singapore (February 2, 
1 982) wrote: 

" What a shame that men with half his age 
cannot sing with such sustenance, half as well! " 

Writes 'Kinnari' in 'Shanmuka' (July 1991) : 

' Krishnamoorty Bhagavatar's performing finesse is to be experienced to be believed. 
He was an artiste, an aesthete and a performer with perception and punch... His voice 
has the twinkling radiance and vigour, its resilience and refinement inferior to no concert 
veteran. His percussive ingenuity would match any of the star-performers,' 

Bhagavatar has notated most of the songs of Venkatasubba Ayyar and 
forty-two songs have been published with notation and seventy-nine without 
under the titles: . 

Krishna Ganam, 
Navavarana kirtanas and 
Rasa Ganam. 

Financial constraint deters the publication of the remaining treasure left to 
posterity by Venkatasubba Ayyar. Presently Bhagavatar's daughter, V. Alamelu 
and his sons-in-law, Pandurangan and Sethuraman are propagating the 
Uthukadu compositions. Anyone interested in the publication of the remaining 
songs of Uthukadu can approach Bhagavatar's wife K. Rajammal. The songs 
provide tantalizing themes full of bhava and divine melody for Bharata Natya. It 
will indeed be a tribute to the stupendous vidwat of Bhagavatar too. Bhagavatar 
has given one L.P. and had visited Singapore. 


The Pararnacharyal of Kanchi had honoured Bhagavatar with the title of 
Krishna Bhaktamani'. Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Trust honoured him 
posthumously. Madurai T.N. Seshagopalan gave a public concert at the Tamil 
IsaJ Sangham, Madras with Uthukadu songs alone drawing inspiration and 
guidance from V. Alamelu. 


Born at Kollegal, of Ramamurthy who was in the State service and was a 
musician too, T.R. Krishnamurty had his training in music under Bhairavi Kempe 
Gowda, Violin Narayanaswamappa and T. Chowdiah. Has a pleasing .and 
responding voice and is a traditionalist. He has been giving concerts in sabhas 
and on the All India Radio. Has been training many disciples like H.R. Sitarama 


(20th Cent.) 

Son of Srinivasa Ayyangar, Krishna Ayyangar had his training under Krishna 
Rao, Chikka Rama Rao, Mysore Vasudevacharya and Bidaram Krishnappa - 
distinguished vocalists. For five decades Krishna Ayyangar has been giving 
vocal concerts and harikatha discourses. He established Sri Krishna Gayana 
Sabha. A popular vidwan known for his traditional presentation. 

Publications : Dikshita kritis - Navavarana and Navagraha kritis. 

Tyagaraja Hrudaya. 

Titles : Harikatha Visarada 

Kirtana Bhushana, etc. 


The Lalgudi Family is one of the few in Carnatic music which takes genuine 
pride as inheritors of a precious legacy and continuous dedication for 
generations to the classical art. The paterfamilias Rama Ayyar was a devoted 
disciple of Tyagarajah. Krishnan and Vijayalakshmi, son and daughter of 
Lalgudi Jayaraman, Violin maestro, are duo violinists who combine delightfully 
rendering melody more melodious, The magnitude of their intensive training, 
dedication and exquisite musical expression come to instant notice when they 
commence their concerts. The 'Lalgudi perfume' quite carefully filtered and 
invigorated by their stalwart father, and passed on to Krishnan, spreads its 
fragrance and the duo play to aesthetic perfection. Krishnan practically had all 
the gifts of gurukulavasa at home from birth and the father - aunt violin concerts 


had come to stay since 1958 even before he was conceived. 

Krishnan got an early start in his training at the tender age of five with his 
grandfather Lalgudi Gopala Ayyar and continued it with his father. Made his 
debut in 1973 providing violin support to his father. He is giving solo recitals, 
jugalbandhis and violin duets with his father or his sister. His style like his 
father's js the gayaka style closest to vocal rendition. His raga delineations are 
crisp and absorbing. Kriti rendition exhibits musical vigour and grace. 
Impeccable bowing and careful planning feature his concerts. Has been giving 
quite a large number of concerts in India and abroad. 

Concert tours: 

With father Jayaraman: Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Italy, West Germany, 
U.K., U.S.A., USSR and Middle East. (Sister Vijayalakshmi joined in some.) 

With sister Vijayalakshmi alone; USA, 
Honours and titles: 

Best violinist Award by Music Academy, Madras 1 986. 

Yuva Kala Bharati by Bharat Kalachar 1 987. 

A Post-graduate in Commerce and a Cost & Works Accountant, Krishnan is 
an Executive Officer in an Investments Company and is a co-promoter of the 
vibrant organisation TYME' (Talented Youth for Musical Excellence). The author 
has a particular reason to thank Krishnan. He was delightfully surprised to 
receive a letter from Dr. Uma Roy, President, The Carnatic Music Association of 
North America Inc. mentioning inter alia: 

1 1 was presented with your book A Garland by Lalgudi G.J.R. Krish- 
nan and Lalgudi Vijayalakshmi... congratulate you on compiling an 
immense amount of material which is bound to be useful... seek your 
permission to use material from your book...' 

CMANA has indeed shown much interest in the book and the credit goes 
naturally to Krishnan-Vijayalakshmi who thoughtfully took the book on the eve 
of their departure and presented it to the President of a vibrant association in 
the states. 


Place of birth : Madurai 

Parentage : Narayana Ayyangar and Padmasini 

Musical heritage : Father is a musical discourser and scholar in Sanskrit 

and tamil. 


Elder brother, Srinivasa Ayyangar is a violinist. 

Madurai Krishna Ayyangar, percussionist (b.1927), who 
studied under Jalatarangam Babu Ayyangar is a cousin* 

Madurai Srinivasa Ayyangar, another cousin, is a 

Musical training : Preliminary training under father and elder brother. 

Training in the Tamil Isai School at Karaikudi 

Sangita Vidwan Diploma from the Government Music 
College, Madras. 

To crown the multi-sided heritage, musical environment and training, he 
entered on gurukulavasa under the celebrated Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar 
which lasted till the death of the guru on 23.01 .1 967. Eighteen years' of training 
is something remarkable. The earth (guru) was not inclined to sever its 
connection with the tree (pupil) and the tree believed that such severance was 
no freedom to it! (Tagore's epigram). Madurai Krishnan made his debut at 
Tirupati in 1950 and has since given hundreds of concerts all over India on the 
Radio, Doordarshan and elsewhere. The traditional training and background and 
the long association with a great master have endowed his music with a distinct 
stamp. Krishnan enjoys a rich voice. He recollects with pride the incident when 
he was called upon by Ramanuja Ayyangar to take the concert when the latter 
got suddenly indisposed. With stalwarts T.N. Krishnan on violin and Palghat 
Mani Ayyar on mridangam, young Krishnan stole the honours of the day. 

He has given swara notation to the songs of Tiruppavai, some pasurams of 
Nalayira Divya Prabandham, besides songs of Bharati and Ambhujam Krishna. 
His earlier training at a Tamil Isai School should have helped him in this. Has 
composed padams, varnams, tillanas and jatiswarams which are adopted by 
bharatanatyam artistes. He is the Director of Sree Bharathalaya, Madras with 
which the celebrated artist Sudharani Raghupati is connected. Has produced 
musical plays like 'Krishna Leela' and 'Mathuriyam'. His mature musicianship 
now follows Natya Sastra concept of music being an aid to natya. 

Titles & Honours : Gana Nidhi from Vaishnava Association - 1 979, 

Madura Kala Praveen from Satguru 

Sangeetha Samajam - 1981, 
Honoured by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai 

Nataka Mandram - 1 992. 

SangeetNatakAkademy Award - 1988. 

Padma Sri by President of India - 1 992. 


One of the renowned nagaswara vidwaos of the present enjoying wide 
popularity, large practice and immense prestige, Namagiripettai Krishnan is the 
son and disciple of Kathan. He underwent further training with Ganesan of 


Aruppukottai from the age of fourteen and cherishes sweet memories of his 
apprenticeship, The teacher would give lessons only in fits and starts and would 
stop abruptly too. His mother's name is Kunjammal; one of his brothers is a 
percussionist (tavil) while another, Murugan is his co-player. 

Krishnan during his visits abroad for concerts had an interesting experience 
too. At Paris, the host, who presented him with a costly shawl at a reception, 
came to him after the function and requested for its return stating that he had 
been using the shawl for very many such functions -social, cultural and political. 
Puzzled and intrigued at the hypocritical farce and un-lndian practice, he silently 
returned it ! Perhaps alluding to occasional experiments by some artistes with 
mridangam, he says that nagaswaram and tavil are inseparable twins like Siva- 
Sakti unity. He knows to play on violin too. He is the accredited vidwan to the 
Tirumalai Tirupati Devasthanams. He has played on nagaswaram for many 

Honours & Titles: 

Sangeet Natak Akademy Award. 1 981 

'Isai Perarasu' by Tamilisai Sangham 1983-84 

Saptagiri Sangita Vidwanmani by Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati 1 992 

Has been honoured with many other titles like 'Inkuzhal Isai Arasu', 
'Nagaswara Isai Mannar', 'Perunguzhal Pulavar Mani' and a Doctorate (one of 
the three nagaswara vidwans who enjoy this honour now). 

* * * 

A distant relative of Subramanya Bharati and Ettayapuram Ramachandra 
Bhagavatar, guru to Pushpavanam, Krishnan carries the honorifics 
Sangitaramya Kokilam and Sangita Sahitya Vidwan. He brought out a book 
containing Bharati's songs titled 'Bharatiyar Padalgal' In tamil. 

* * * * * 

Tyagaraja heard the song 'Paramatmudu ' (Vagadeeswari) before attaining eternity, 
while Muthuswami Dikshitar discarded his mortal coil as he was hearing 'Meenalochani 
Pasamochani ' - Meenakshi (Gamakakriya). Many illustrious musicians left in peace 
diluting their earthly existence in divine songs of their liking. Sangameswara Sastri died 
playing Ananda Bhairavi on veena. James H. Cousins wrote to Rukmini Devi Arundale 
that Tiger Varadachariar wanted to be sung to as his end was nearing. He was engulfed 
in bhajan till the flames engulfed his mortal remains. 


PROF. T.N. KRISHNAN - VIOLIN VIRTUOSO: (b.October 16, 192i 

' Now loudly let the viol sound; 
The lute send out its voice with might. ' (XCII. Atharva Veda) 

There is vibrant, emotional warmth, technical precision and perfection in h 
delightful melodic rendition. The serenity and tonal virtuosity are soothing ar 
endearing. Evocative improvisation and nuances, tantalizing subtlety with clarii 
providing absorbing interest in the listener mark his concerts. His impeccabl 
smooth bowing blends severe classicism with depth and fluency with polisf 
SVK once noted, 'his notes glisten with Carnatic lustre and every phrase inth 
alapana stands dipped with Carnatic sweetness. The use of the full bo\ 
produces deep-toned music enriched with gamakas with resultant grandeu 
and grace'. Above all, there is his dignified presence on the stage free fron 
any tinge of mannerism, exuding confidence, cultured decorum and robus 
refinement, a personification of perfected knowledge. This is Prof. T.N. Krishnan, 
formerly Principal, Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras and now Head 
of the Department of Carnatic Music, University of Delhi. 

Born at Parur as the eldest son of Narayana Ayyar and Narayani Ammal, 
T.N. Krishnan had his initial training in music under his father and later with 
K. Parthasarathi Ayyangar and Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar, to whom alone 
the distinguished professor provided accompaniment long after he switched 
over to solos as a mark of his respect. Krishnan drew inspiration from the play 
of the renowned violinist of yester years, Papa Venkataramaiah in 'shaping his 
aesthetically rich and pregnantly gamaka-laden style'. His innate genius 
expressed itself very early and he commenced giving accompaniment from the 
age often. He became popular quite soon and an incident could be quoted in 
this connection. Guru Srinivasa Ayyar was giving his concert at the Hindu High 
School, Triplicane in the forties probably for the Parthasarathy Swami Sabha. 
Exhilarating rendition by tender-aged Krishnan thrilled the audience and 
evoked frequent applause. The vocalist guru intervened to say that while 
appreciation would do good, lavish presents of the same might mar the career 
of his young ward as he was then at an impressionable stage of development. 
The admiring audience understood and checked its emotional propensity. It may 
be mentioned that in those days applause was EARNED and reserved only for 
the very best rendition and that the present practice of applauding every phrase 
and every time as in tennis courts had not invaded the concert halls. 


Prof. Krishnan has robust views on current trends in the music world. Says 

' I look forward to anything innovative in music, because variety is the need of the 
day... Listeners welcome change. It is a challenge and only enriches traditional music 
when new areas are explored and styles tried out. In fact I play Western pieces in my 
concerts sometimes... Thinking should not stagnate. ' 


It should not be thought that the Professor has given a carte blanche to 
practitioners. He, actually, insists on conscious efforts at innovative exploration 
in full knowledge of what one seeks after and how. Here is the rider to his 
observations which by themselves would be termed revolutionary in 
conservative circles: 

' There is only one thing, however, which is that the young should also be sufficiently 
educated about the traditions they inherit and the conventions they break, ' 

Prof. T.N. Krishnan has made his enlightening clarification at the Talavadyotsav 
'92 at Bangalore in the presence of a large number of artistes; 

" Musicians should get away from the habit of singing a large number of compositions 
mechanically, but using the songs as the bases, seek to project the image of their ragas. 
I am adopting this approach in my solo recitals and probably due to it, they attract North 
Indian listeners in large numbers to my concerts. " 

In the context of the need for some reorientation to revitalise Carnatic music 
to* involve greater audience receptivity and Prof. Krishnan's learned 
observations, the following statement of Georges Enesco, Yehudi Menuhin's 
master, may be found interesting: 

'Virtuosos ! Poor devils ! They are just like convicts (condemned to hard labour), martyrs... 
some times saints... ' 

(It should be noted that Yehudi Menuhin had great regard to Enesco and 
said, 'Everything I do carries his imprint'.) 

In Indian music, T.N. Krishnan refers to jugalbandi among areas where new 
techniques can be tried. He says: 

1 1 have played with Pandit Ramnarayan sarangi, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan sarod, Pandit 
Hari Prasad Chaurasia flute, Debu Chaudhury sitar and my own sister Rajam who plays 
Hindustani music on violin. In the Camatic tradition I have played with Doreswami 
Ayyangar veena. I have enjoyed these..particularly with the sitar and sarod.. .There is 
a better synthesis between the plucked instrument and the bowed ones perhaps 
because of the variety it bffers. ' 

He has a note of caution to artistes performing in jugalbandis that it is 
important that each should keep to his style and not cross territories in which 
case it could be disastrous. 1 am not against jugalbandis. People like it. Of 
course, due concentration and effort to bring out the salient features should be 

Honours & Titles: 

Tenali Sangeetha Sabha Vayuleena Ratna 1 950 

Music Academy, Madras Sangita Kalanidhi 1 980 

President of I ndia Padma Sri 


Sangit Natak Akademy, Delhi Award 1 974 

Karur Sangeetha Sabha Honours 
Ganapathy Sacchitananda Sabha, 

Bangalore Violin Ratna 
Tantri Vilas 

Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt Honours 1 980 

Mylapore Fine Arts Sangita Kala Nipuna 

The Academy of Music, Bangalore Chowdiah Memorial National Level 

Award 1 983 

TTD Devasthanams. Asthana Vidwan 1 977 

Kalasagaram, Secunderabad Kalasagara 1991 

President of India Padma Bhushan 1 992 

Sunada Tantri Vinodaka Srimad Andavan Swamigal 1 992 

Saptagiri Sangita Vidwananmani Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati 1 992 

Concert Tours: 

United States of America (8 times) 

United Kingdom 

Australia to preside over the Asian Music Symposium sponsored by the Australian 

Society for Indian Music, Sydney - 1979. 
USSR, Singapore, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, etc. 

Posts Held: 

Professor of Violin, Tamil Nadu Government Music College - 1 964- 1 978. 

Principal, Tamil Nadu Govt Music College, Madras - 1978-1985. 
Head of Carnatic Music Section, Faculty of Music and Fine Arts, 

Delhi University - 1 986 onwards, 

Vice Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi - 1 992 onwards 

T.N. Krishnan has occupied several other important assignments such as - 

Chairman, Audition Board, Sri Lankan Broadcasting Corporation 

(deputed by AIR, New Delhi). 
Member, Board of Examiners of some Universities. 
Member, Experts Committee, Music Academy, Madras. 
Executive Board Member, Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi (two terms) 
Visiting Professor, Centre for World Music, Berkeley, USA. 

Disc Recordings: Quite a number. 

A child prodigy T.N. Krishnan hails from a musical family. Apart from his 
father-guru, his grandfather Appadurai Bhagavatar of Tiruppunithura was a 
musician. His sister Dr. N. Rajam, an eminent violinist and SNA award winner, 
is the Head of Department and Dean, Faculty of Arts, Benares University. 
Daughter Viji Krishnan and son Sriram often accompany their father on violin in 
his solos. He had the opportunity to provide accompaniment while quite young 
to eminent stalwarts of the day like Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar and Chembai 
Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar and was on the All India Radio at the age of ten. 


There was an element of drama in the Music Academy conferring the 
prestigious title of 'Sangita Kalanidhi' on him in 1980. For the first time, some 
members of the Experts Committee, which was then in charge of choosing the 
candidate, are stated to have gone around collecting signatures for another 
artiste. Suddenly a concerted pincer movement was set in motion and 
Prof. T.N. Krishnan carried the day in the ballot and was selected. It was 
perhaps the solitary occasion when the ballot settled the issue! 

Prof. Krishnan enjoys a reputation for virtuosity and thrilling classical 
rendition. An Award rightly describes that 'in his hands, the instrument exudes 
a sweet tonal quality which imparts an indefinable charm to his playing. His 
performance style is closely modelled on vocal music*. The nadha that he 
produces from violin is suswara incarnate. While felicitating T.N. Krishnan, 
C.V. Narasimhan mentioned on 13 ,07.1992 that the celebrated violinist had 
provided accompaniment to his vocal concerts and humourously added that 
they were cases of the tail wagging the dog. He said: 

' What moves you and touches your heart is Suswaram ; and Krishnan is an 
embodiment of Suswaram. When he touches the shadja, it is ambrosial suswaram.' 

Prof. Krishnan is presently Vice-Chairman, Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi 
and it is hoped that he could find time to give the benefit of his rich, varied 
and weighty experience to guide the affairs of that premier institution. 


An account of the life of Bidaram Krishnappa, one of the finest of musicians 
who adorned the musical horizon in Karnataka, finds place at pages 131-132 of 
A Garland. Additional details are furnished hereunder. 

Distress while young: 

Young Krishnappa came home crying for food. Drowpati of Mahabharata 
had by chance left a particle of food in the vessel for Krishna to stifle Sage 
Durvasa's hunger and prevent a catastrophe. But poor Saraswati's lot did not 
enjoy even that much of blessedness and her Krishnappa was no Krishna either 
to invoke divine powers! She shed copious tears of grief. The lad ran to the 
nearby Anjaneya temple and dozed off singing Devaranamas on an empty 
stomach. Dr. Nanjundiah who chanced to see him gave him a rupee. The boy 
would go over there and earn a Ijjtle by singing daily. 

Fortune dawned when sahukar Thimmayya heard him and was impressed 
by his music and personality. He was struck by the pathetic lot of Krishnappa, 
took him to Karur Ramaswamy, a musician and told him : 


'Well, you must teach this boy musia Pray accept this hundred rupees now. Rxupthe 
nearest auspicious day and commence the tuitions. Let it be my responsibility to see 
that your efforts do not go without a reward. ' 

It was a magnificent gesture which placed him on the sure path to ultimate 
glory. Krishnappa never forgot his distress later and devoted three-fourths of 
his time to teach his disciples passionately. 'Let them not suffer that ordeal that 
had been my fate before', he believed. Probably that was the reason why he 
was harsh to Chowdiah having found in him a worthy violin wizard-in- 

Elephantine bluff: 

An interesting incident involves both Krishnappa who has done real acting 
and Mysore Vasudevacharya. The circus elephant walks on two legs and when 
the circus-master turns his back, the mammal resumes to walk on all fours to 
the amusement of the gazers. Krishnappa and Vasudevacharya had to enact a 
like drama to throw dust in the eyes of their patron Maharajah of Mysore to cover 
up their ignorance! It was float festival on Chamundi Hills. The ruler asked them 
to sing the Dikshitar kirtana 'MaHishasuramardini' (Narayani). Here is the 
account of what transpired in Vasudeva's words: 

1 Neither of us knew the kirtana. Dodda Venkataramaniah, violinist knew the trend of the 
pailavi alone and sang it for us. Oh! that was enough! When the float moved away 
from the bank where His Highness was seated, we mugged up the pailavi otthe kirtana 
As the float neared him, we started singing kalpana swaras to the pailavi - one avarta 
each. When the float drifted away from him, we kept quiet! God spared us! ' 

How effective was the succour of God? 

1 Next day, His Highness called us both and said, "You sang the pailavi of the kirtana 
excellently. But we should like to hear the full song as well. Please learn it fully and 
sing day after tomorrow! " His Highness smiled knowledgeably and our pale faces 
managed to put on an artificial smile !. 

The man: 

His recital in the temple at T.Narasipur did not gather momentum. He was 
visibly uncomfortable. An old admirer fathomed the reason for the lack of warmth 
in his singing and held out a pinch of snuff in the most professional manner. 
Krishnappa's face brightened. Immediately self-respect and concert decorum 
intervened and asserted to annihilate the temptation and Krishnappa said, 
'Kindly excuse me, Sir. I have given up snuff'. 

And it was not a statement of the occasion. To live up to the averment, he 
snuffed it out of his life! That was the man and his tenacious character. (But that 
did not lead to fluctuations in the snuff-market! Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar, 
the vocal maestro stepped in to use snuff to clear his nasal obstructions!) 


Unrealised wish: 

Krishnappa cherished a wish to go abroad to exhibit his expertise and the 
charm of Carnatic Music. Astrologers assured him of splendid chances. He died 
on July 29, 1931 with his unrealised wish cremated with him! A most colourful 
personality, Krishnappa strode through the streets for a copper while young as 
a child of poverty and neglect but lived to be a Caesar, a colossus among 
musicians and admirers. 


A distinguished disciple of Kanchipuram Naina Pillai and Tiger 
Varadachariar, Krishnaswamy Ayyangar learnt raga alapana, etc., by following 
Naina Pillai to his concerts. He was voice - support at many of his guru's 
performances. Asampradaya vidwan, he used to present at each of his concerts 
at least one new song and a rare raga. Was on the teaching staff of Kalakshetra. 
A respected senior vidwan, he is known for presenting traditional aesthetics of 
ragas and his raga alapanas are rich and comprehensive. 


An illustrious ruler of Mewar, Maharana Kumbha ascended the throne on the 
assassination of his father Mokal. He belonged to one of the foremost 
celebrated royal families of Rajasthan and is a historic figure in the annals of 
Rajasthan. Tilhabhatta was his preceptor. A Saivite, he was very tolerant. He 
has authored quite a number of works like 

Rasikha Pr/ya, a commentary on Gita Govinda, 
Sangitakrama Dipika, and 
Sangita Mimamsa or Sangita Raja. 

The work Sangita Raja is perfect in its exposition and elucidation of intricate 
musical problems and is remarkable for its wealth of details and illustration, says 
Dr. Prem Lata Sharma who has edited the work for the Benares Hindu University 
(published in 1 963). The work is mutilated in parts and, as usual with such great 
works, some credit an unknown Kalasena with its authorship. The great cultured 
scholar-king had sifted traditional materials critically and has intelligently utilised 
them. His style is expository and disputatious. The conception of the plan of 
the work is original and grand. His theories and concepts are traditional/ 
Sangita Raja is an encyclopaedic work on the science of music, dance, musical 
instruments, theory of rasa, etc. in five khandas containing 16000 


sloka-measures. It is a matter for regret that the remarkable work was in th< 
dark robbing it of its merit and use for five centuries. 

It is said that the name 'Kumbhakama' carried no wrong attributes with it ii 
the past Maharana Kumbha enjoyed titles like Chapguru, Todarmal am 
Abhinava Battacharya. 

S.R. KUPPUSWAMY - MUSICOLOGIST: (b. September 27, 1914 

Place of birth ; Ayyampettai near Tanjore 

Parents : Ranganatha Ayyangar & Ranganayaki. 

General Qualification : Graduate of the Madras University 

Musical Training and Learnt Carnatic music under Eddu Ramudu Bhagavatar, 

qualification : a direct disciple of Tyagarajah. 

Learnt Hindustani music from S.N. Bhattacharya of the 
Benares University. 

Master of Music degree from U.S.A. 

Sangeethacharya degree from All India Vidwat 
Sammelan, Aligarh University in 1951. 

Posts held : Lecturer in Music at the Arts College, Sri Ramakrishna 

Vidyalaya, Perianaickenpalayam. 

Research Student in Music, Madras University. 

Examiner for Music Examinations held by the AH India 
Vidwat Sammelan. 

Member, Local Audition and Advisory Committees, 
All India Radio, Coimbatore. 

Journals edited: 

Karnataka Sangeetham, a monthly music journal and Tamilisai, a monthly journal. 

S.R. Kuppuswami was very active in the music world and his activities were 
multi-sided. He had conducted research studies on the importance of music in 
an !?r.l tamif and sanskrit "texture and had participated in vocal programmes 
and talks on music. Has composed songs in Sanskrit with swara notation. The 
two journals he edited were popular. 


A Short Survey of Music of North and South India (1947) and 

Noodhana Tamil Sahityangal. S.R. Kupppuswami hopes his script on 
Music in the days of Kalidasa 1 will soon be published. 

Title: Karnataka Sangeetha Mani by the Meikandar Kazhagam, Coimbatore. 



(b. December 16, 1933) 

Adyar Lakshmanan is a fine specimen of ' Sangeetha ' of Natya Sastra 
connotation in combining vocal music with mridangam and bharata natyam - 
each with true merit and knowledgeable grace. Kalakshetra moulded him to 
flower into a complete and comprehensive artiste who gives vocal concerts, 
takes part in dance-dramas, trains quite a number in bharata natyam, etc. He 
is a vocalist, dance artiste, mridangist and nattuvangam all in one. He has taken 
a major part in the famous dance-dramas of Kalakshetra along with the 
celebrated Dr. Rukmini Devi, its founder and under her direction. Apart from 
providing nattuvangam to his own patron-tutor Rukmini Devi, he has provided 
nattuvangam practically to the entire galaxy of dancers who adorn the stage. 

Place of birth : Kuppam (Andhra Pradesh) 

Parents : N. Krishnaraja Rao & Godhavati Bai 

Qualification : Matriculation 

Higher Grade Exam in Carnatic Music of the 
T,N. Directorate of Technical Education. 
Diploma in Bharata Natyam & Mridangam 

from Kalakshetra in 1954. 
Post-graduate Diploma in Nattuvangam 

from Kalakshetra in 1 964. 

Teachers for vocal : Visweswaraiyah of Tiptur, 

music The galaxy of musicians who were at Kalakshetra like 

the Tiger, Mudicondan, Budalur and Vasudevachar. 

Training in : Rukmini Devi Arundale, Saradamba Ammal, etc. 


Training in : Vittal Ayyar & Karaikudi Muthu Ayyar. 


He had intensive training in nattuvangam and kathakali and rich experience 
even while he remained with Kalakshetra. Was teacher for music, bharata 
natyam and mridangam in it and Chief Instructor, Natyalaya, Madras. Presently 
he is Director of 'Bharata Choodamani' founded in 1969 by him which throbs 
with the fragrance of the graceful art. 

Concert tours : 

USSR, Europe, USA, Australia, Sri Lanka, 
Singapore, Malaysia, Pakistan, Guyana. 
Africa is the one continent he is yet to grace. 


Honours & Titles : 

UNESCO Mandram Award for nattuvangam & brilliant compositions 1 97O. 

Kalaimamani by IN. Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1 981 . 

Padma Sri by the President of India 1 989. 

Sangeet Natak Akademi Award 1991. 
(besides other titles) 


July 23, 1950 

The Man: 

Known for his high integrity and honesty, modesty and methodicity 
T. Lakshmana Pillai was a bridge between malayalam and tamil, east and west 
A graduate in arts, he was religious; was a thinker and humanist, 
Dr. S. Venkatasubramonia Ayyar mentions that Lakshmana Pillai was a 
sensitive poet and a serious moralist, that he was a stickler for tradition and a 
musicologist of merit, Was a strict vegetarian and was a respected figure in 
Kerala and Tamil Nadu. His house buzzed with the visits of eminent men and 
women like Rabhindranath Tagore, Sarojini Naidu and Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar 
His ancestors hailed from Tiruchendur. 

Place of birth : Trivandrum 

Parents ' Thlraviam Pillai and Valliammal (Balaramavalli) 

Musical training ; p ap pu Pillai (a Nair who commanded an impressive 

under vo ' ce and who was a terror to other musicians for his 

aggressive rendition), Velu Pillai and Picchu Bhagavatar. 

Sathu Bhagavatar was an inspiration to him. 
Occupation : 

Service and 'Nadopasana' ran concurrently in his life. Was in the Travancore 
U 1 Wa f ! Maj r Treasur V Offi ^r last. If he accounted for 

r mUS '' CianS and com P^s, ragas and swaras 
t0 mUSI ' C ' he had his P eer ^ Vedanayakarn 

office uhmPi/ ^ anayakam Pi " ai had a tumultuous career in 

S T " ke the de ' taic river runnin 9 to its b ""m, smooth, 
UnCha " en 9 ed Both were scholars in tamil and eminent 

The Musician: 

to doi!!? ^ T" When his Voice failed in 1 91 5, he had 
in M. Seshagiri SaS^too 3 nH eX H P ' ratlon and expression. He had his mentor 
Sastry told Nm ^ and Pa>d heed to his advi ^ to avoid excessive trills. 


1 Ravais (trills) should find a place in songs only as a diamond in a necklace. Diamonds 
should be used sparingly for artistic effect and they should be set off by gems of other 
colours to relieve monotony of too many diamonds. ' 

The Composer: 

The sincerity and integrity of Lakshmana Pillai will be seen in his writings. 
He shares his rich experience when he writes : 

' I wanted to compose a song in Todi but all my new ideas seemed to resemble one or 
the other of Tyagaraja's who seemed to have exhausted all the potentialities of the raga ! 
I gave up the attempt in despair. Later, after six months, a strain occurred all of a 
sudden of Todi without Panchama.,,' 

His 202 songs 'possess rich imagination, new thoughts and lofty ideas' 
(Dr. U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar). He composed songs in chaste tamil on 
ethical, devotional and philosophical themes, mostly in rakti ragas and 
demonstrated that tamil as a language is as good as any other for lyrics. He 
was the first to compose in raga 'Amarasena Priya 1 - a janya of Nitimati (60th 
mela), reportedly named after the philosopher Emerson. All his songs with 
notation and essays have been published. Swara notation was done by him, 
his daughter and disciples. His daughter Lakshmi Narayanan Nair, Professor 
of Music, Women's College, Trivandrum, Gayanapatu Kirthanapatu C. Saraswati 
Bai, Ranganatha Ayyar, N.C. Vasantakokilam and Padmanabha Ayyangarwere 
among his distinguished disciples. Veteran M.S. Ramaswamy Ayyar called him 
' Tamil Tyagaraja '. 

A musicologist of eminence, he published in 1918 a volume of essays on a 
variety of subjects. His rich, analytic, imaginative mind identified the finer 
characteristics of ragas thus: 

Todi : Represent the majesty of a stately king parading his 

Bhairavi pomp, glory and his lofty passions - a grand and sub- 

lime spectacle. 






Kambhoji tender devotion with prayers and tears. 

Project the serene and subdued life of a sage in a lonely 
forest contemplating the universe. 

Suggest a coy maiden hiding her lover as a rose does 
its blooming petals beneath its bower of green. 

Fascinating for its sadness, like a maiden estranged 
from her lover. 

Argues, resents and remonstrates. 
Calm, thoughtful like a philosopher. 
Submissive and imploring, melting into streams of 


'Each raga comes and goes with its store of smiles and tears, passion or 
pathos, its noble and lofty impulses and leaves its mark on the susceptible mind. 1 

Honours & Titles : 

Tamil Kavi Arasu by Annamalai University. 

Sangita Kala Sikhamani by admirers. 

Member, Travancore Legislative Assembly. 

Lakshmana Pillai's writings bring to focus the musical heritage of the South, 
more particularly of Travancore, and the lives of many great men who would 
have been forgotten but for him. He was a musicologist and composer of 
eminence. T.L Venkatarama Ayyar identifies him as a pioneer composer of 
tamil songs fulfilling the requirements of classicism and the demands of 

1 We have keerthanas of the classical type by Papanasam Sivan and Kotiswara Iyer; but 
the compositions of Pillai date back to 1893 long before the present renaissance in 
classical tamil music and Pillai can well claim to the first in the field. ' (T.LV.) 

Lakshrnana Pillai was a gentleman to his fingertips, a tamil scholar, poet, 
composer, essayist and a pioneer in various fields. His sane views on Tamil Isai 
(extracted in Part I) are commendable. 

P.S. LAKSHMI - GOTTUVADYAM ARTISTE (b.November 29,1925) 

Place of birth : Tirupati 

Parents : Chivukula Subramanyam - Subbaratnamma 

Training in music : Under Balakrishnaiah, violinist 

Debut in : 1 947 - Prize-winner for violin recital at the Music 

Academy, M.S. Gopalakrishnan being the other prize- 
winner then. 

As a violinist, she has been accompanying artistes on the All India Radio and 
at sabhas. Since 1949, she switched over to gottuvadyam, convinced of its 
appeal when she heard Mannargudi Savitri Ammal on the instrument. She has 
been giving gottuvadyam performances since then. 

Lakshmi celebrates the 'monthly Panchami' festival for Tyagaraja. At the 
Annamacharya festivals at Tirupati, she has been giving vocal concerts with her 
sister, C, Indramani. Thus P.S. Lakshmi enjoys the unique distinction of being 
a vocalist, violinist and a gottuvadyam artiste. 



(b.: c.1940) 

Place of birth : Sikkil, a pilgrim centre. 

Parents : N.Srinivasa Sastrigal & Kamakshi Ammal. 

On his mother's side, Lakshminarasimha Iyer is a scion of the family of the 
celebrated Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar and quite fittingly had his musical 
training during 1950-58 with his uncle Needamangalam Krishnamoorty 
Bhagavatar who popularised the songs of his ancestor. Lakshminarasimha 
learnt both vocal and flute. His musical appetite longed for something unique. 
During 1960-66, he had training in nagaswaram with Kivaiur N.Q. Ganesa Pillai. 
On completion of his training, he found it difficult to play on nagaswaram with 
his guru in the alluvial Cauvery delta owing to social antipathy to a brahmin 
playing on nagaswaram - quite an unheard of event. Kurinji may flower; 
Mahamakham and Maha Mela may be celebrated - all once in twelve years. But 
a brahmin to play on nagaswaram is an event of a century ! So Iyer had to shift 
to the more congenial hilly tract of Palani since the presiding deity there, Lord 
Dandayuthapani raised little objection to a brahmin playing on nagaswaram 
since He himself has settled there as a recluse embittered at the loss of a fruit 
in a battle of wits with his intellectual elder, Lord Ganesha ! 

Iyer had been giving concerts having made his debut at the Krishna Gana 
Sabha, T. Nagar followed by three hundred concerts at different centres and 
sabhas all over India. He has been a music teacher at the Ghatam Krishnayyar 
Music School, A. Kalayamputhur, Palani for the last two and a half decades. A 
traditionalist, he has come up for praise by critics and music lovers. 

Honours & Titles : Swami Haridhos Giri appointed him as the Asthana 

Vidwan of Sri Gnananandha Swamigal Mutt in 1 974. 

Nagaswara Surabhi by Sri Nagaswarali Sabha on 


Nagaswara Jyothi by Swami Haridhos Giri on 


Honoured by the Kanchi Kamakoti and Sringeri 


Concert tours : Malaysia and Singapore in 1 984. 

Disc recordings : 


Bom : at Vairamangalam. 

Studied upto : S.S.LC. at Madras and Tanjore. 


Musically inclined, he took part in school competitions in music and drama 
with credit. In 1948, he joined as a disciple with the late Kalaimamani 
T.K. Rangachari and was with him as his voice- support for long. Made his debut 
at Tanjore at the celebrated Bangaru Kamakshi Amman temple with which 
Syama Sastri of the Trinity was connected. Lakshminarayanan has received 
awards from the Music Academy in 1 973 and 1 981 and has been giving concerts 
since 1 955 on the All India Radio and at sabhas. 

He is also a lecturer (part-time) in Kalakshetra and is noted for his crisp 
presentation and satisfying voice. 

Concert tour : USA and Canada 1 987. 

LAKSHMIRATNAMMAL - VOCALIST: (c.l 888 - July 29, 1 940) 

Daughter of Veenai Dhanammal and younger of the Dhanam Sisters, (the 
elder being Rajalakshmi), Lakshmiratnammal was a specialist in padams and 
javalis. Since the house of Dhanam was the favourite haunt of musicians for 
long, Lakshmiratnammal had her training not only under her illustrious mother 
but also under Tiger Varadachariar, Puliyodarai Krishnamachariar, Mysore 
Krishna Ayyangar, Pattabhiramiah and Dharmapuri Subbarayar, the last of 
whom was a great admirer of Dhanammal. Learnt Hindustani music from the 
celebrated Khan Saheb Abdul Karim Khan. She sang for Mylapore Gowri 
Ammal's bharata natyam also. She was carried away by the floods in the 
Cauvery during the Aradhana at Tiruvaiyaru in 1 937 but thanks to two musicians, 
she was saved. She took part in all the festivals and commanded respect from 
the public and musicians. 


123 years after Johann Wolfgang von Goethe left, Ludwig Pesch was born 
at Bruchael in the then West Germany probably to give a reorientation to 
East-West Musical Synthesis. He has an irrepressible will to succeed in 
endeavours on unbeaten paths. He is no idle adulator but is an action- oriented 
pioneer in the field of music and culture. 

His 'Raga Dhana* or Practical Guide to Karnatic Ragas (1 986) is a compact 
compilation of the raga lakshanas of 31 6 Carnatic ragas to trace mela and janya 
ragas using a number system for enlightenment on the arohana and avarohana, 
This pocket guide is informative to all. 

Pesch was a co-sponsor of ' Sarnpradaya ', a thriving, throbbing centre at 
Madras for music traditions of South India. The centre, started in 1986, 


compiles, records, documents and propagates musical traditions which are 
personality-oriented. It is open to the public for reading and hearing recorded 
songs, interviews, etc., which are all very valuable. It also propagates chamber 
music without amplification. The project is unique and is well conceived for the 
promotion of chaste classical music and preservation of the rendition of great 

Yet another landmark at Madras owes its existence to Pesch. It is the 
'Sittarangam', the Small Theatre Madras (1987). Artistically designed, it is 
simple, traditional and inspired by temple halls and descriptions in Natya Sastra. 
It is described as a 'hermitage of monastic simplicity and beauty', This 
mini-theatre was got up by Pesch with the technical support of his friend, 

A guide, an institution and a mini theatre are solid achievements but they do 
not exhaust his advent. He has become a competent and complete classical 
Carnatic flautist who has drawn praise from the media and the public, His 
rendition is chaste and captivating and brings out the bhava and rasa of the 
sahitya (text). He has given quite a number of concerts in India and abroad 
drawing copious encomia. If Jon Higgins, the vocalist came from the States, 
Pesch, the flautist has come from Germany. Pesch is a disciple of veteran 
H, Rarnachandra Sastri of Kalakshetra, Madras where he got a First Class 
Diploma and did his post-graduate studies. Earlier he had his studies in Western 
music at Freiburg Musikhochschule and University. In 1981 he made his debut 
as support flautist to guru H. Ramachandra Sastri and soon started giving 
independent performances too. It is a tribute to the intense dedication and 
robust culture of Pesch who came to India as a stranger with nothing but love 
of Indian music, a passion to master it and a will to make an impressive grade 
too. He was not content to be a mere ' also-ran '. Young Pesch has done 
extensive photographic documentation of traditional South Indian music in its 
cultural contexts availing of the assistance of ICCR, DAAD (German Academic 
Exchange Service) and International Lalit Kala Foundation, Santa Barbara, 
USA. He is an active cultural ambassador who has emotionally integrated 
himself to the pristine glories and traditions of South Indian music and is now a 
golden link with the West. 


A disciple of Wallajahpet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, Narayana Sastri is 
credited with the pioneering publication of Tyagaraja's operas. 



MADURA KAV1 BHARATi - (died 1806) 

Son" of Ganapati Subbayyar, Madura Kavi Bharati hailed from Perungarai in 
Ramnad District, a bee-hive of eminent composers in tamil like Kavi Kunjara 
Bharati and Kotiswara Ayyar who composed the 72 melakarta raga songs. 
Madura Kavi had inspired Kunjara Bharati in his poetical pursuits. His puissant 
genius was recognised by the Raja of Ramnad and the title 'Madura Kavi' 
(Honeyed Poet) conferred by him. 


Maduranath is one of the performing flautists of Karnataka in traditional 
style. He had the good fortune of learning under the celebrated TR.Mahalingam 
(Mali) and pursues his style of rendition. Hails from Tumkur, a prominent town 
in Karnataka. Leading artistes have provided accompaniment to Maduranath. 
He runs a music school at Bangalore specifically to train flautists. 

Concert tour: Europe 

T.R. MAHALINGAM (alias MALI) - FLUTE PRODIGY: (Novr.6, 1926 - 

May 31, 1986) 

It is the privilege and sagacity of a chosen few to conjure up grand classical 
visions of supreme sublimity presenting beauteous graces and portraying 
graceful beauty. They open up magnificent vistas of art, enchant the 
congnoscenti and the lay. The spell outlasts their periods of glory and fame. 
Sarabha, the flautist, Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar and Pushpavanam, the 
vocalists, T.N. Rajarathinam, the nagaswara player and S.G. Kittappa, the 
dramatist are specimens of this legendary galaxy. To this aristocracy of art 
belongs T.R. Mahalingam, popularly called Mali. When Sarabha left after two 
and thirty years in 1904, there was a vacuum with Palladam Sanjiva Rao and 
others holding charge. It was left to Talagnayar in Tanjore district to present 
after the lapse of two decades a flute prodigy who staged a quick and massive 
presence, plundered the hearts of music-lovers and looted all praise! His 
debut was immediate in 1933 at the age of seven at the Tyagaraja Festival, 
Mylapore. Like the eastern sun which shoots out sans twilight on the Marina, 
there was no period of apprenticeship or vegetating. The lad came with his 
magician's play on the bamboo flute and was crowned king! 


His exhilarating flute-play dwarfed the mature, sedate play of Palladam 
Sanjiva Rao, who, incidentally, did not evince interest earlier in taking the boy 
as his ward. There is no account of Mali following the footprints of Ekalavya but 
like Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar, he was his own master - with the difference 
that Mali could not emulate the Uthukadu pattern of sublime private life! 
Music-lovers thronged Mali's concerts. An eka santha grahi, he saw the 
contours of raga shapes on the horizon and developed his play pouring out 
enchanting, titillating alapanas and swaras with the support of his tender lungs. - 
His melody blitzkrieged the music world and the audience sat soaked in 
transcendental melody, chaste and warm, mind and body tuned to the vibrant 
but soulful music. Like Veena Balachander, Mali 'is credited with evolving a style 
close to vocal rendition that took care of the sahitya and the bhava conveyed 
therein. Says his renowned disciple and flautist Dr. N. Ramani: 

1 The secret of his success was his adopting a special technique of cross-fingering of a 
compound ( character and his superb command and grip over laya. His music was akin 
to the royal style, a departure from that of his predecessors., .his nimble fingers caressed 
the curves, flashed out the glories of swara prastara in striking succession. His 
technique was remarkable resulting in a rich tonal quality. ' 

Mali's rendition enraptured the audience and he was a legend as a teenager. 
Verily a divine messenger in Carnatic music, he knew its boundless dimensions.' 

Son of Ramaswami Ayyar, Mali was born at Tiruvidaimarudur and learnt 
vocal music from Jalra Gopala Ayyar along with his elder brother Gouthaman. 
He switched over to flute soon. His ascent to the top centre stage was so quick 
and dynamic that there was difficulty in finding accompaniment as juniors felt 
dazed while seniors were ill at ease to be sidemen to a boy! Quite soon, 
reluctance of seniors gave place to a rush to participate in his concerts! 
Mali - Palghat Mani were the select top pair like Miller - Lindwall or 
Prasanna - Chandrasekhar in cricket and S.G. Kittappa and K.B. Sundarambal 
in drama. There was perfect identity of approach, anticipation and understanding 
between the two colossuses in presenting, rhythm supported melody, vibrant 
music each prodding and complementing the other. The identity did not rest with 
partnership on the concert stage and forming a grand alliance. Both were 
prodigies; both shot into fame like the Caesar's veni, vidi, vici; and both left this j 
planet in the month of May! It is perplexing that unpredictable Mali and stoic 
Mani could forge an enduring partnership. They were poles apart in personal 
traits and yet they understood and appreciated the artistic merits of each other 

Mahalingam left a rich crop of disciples in Dr. N. Ramani, Dr. Prapancham 
Seetharam, T.S. Sankaran, N. Kesi, Dindigul Natarajan, N.S. Srinivasan, 
K.S. Narayanan and L Sundaram. 


Mali was a good violinist too and had provided accompaniment to stalwarts 
and given solos. Veterans had given violin support to him too. It was a challenge 
to keep time to his devilrous play sometimes. It is said that AT. Kannan 
committed an error once and Amjad Ali Khan had to request Kishan Maharaj to 
keep the beats so that Mali could resume the concert, Dwaram Venkataswami 
Naidu and Papa Venkataramayya, senior violinists were on cordial terms with 

Mali married Ellen Dryer of USA in 1974 and returned to India last in 1985, 
The magnificent grandeur and clarity he commanded in music did not find a 
sympathetic chord in his personal life, His punctuality was notorious. Kavignar 
Kannadasan, a tamil poet of eminence used to say humourously, 'Emmadamayinum 
sammadam; aanaal ennudaiya madam taamadam' (whatever be the religion, it is 
the same to me; but my religion is lack of punctuality)! Mali was a staunch 
devotee of the latter half of the dictum. When violin maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman 
queried, 'You are cancelling engagements so often; if you do not like any, why 
should you accept the offer at all? 1 , Mali enlightened him saying, 'How can i 
cancel if I do not accept one?' and laughed away little conscious of the damage 
to his image. Probably the fact that he was at the peak of glory while still so 
young had upset the even tenor of his life and injected a massive dose of lack 
of equilibrium, restlessness or discontent or distrust with himself. When as a 
boy of ten, he found himself 'blessed with a tone, shaped into musical phrases, 
risings and fullings by fingers directed by genius already mature', how could he 
hold on for five long, long decades? He could rarely 'add to, or develop the 
perfectly presented flute attributes! Mali probably faced the problem of the ... 
tyranny of tone, a fulfilled unchanging flute language' coming in the way of his 
musical expression and personal life. A spiritual outlook would have solved it. 
Probably Mali did not invoke it. ( Vide Page 309 of A Garland.) 

One has heard of Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar declining to sing 'Giripai* stating 
that it had become the property of Bikshandarkoil Subbarayar and of 
Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar withdrawing his recording of 'Evarani' when 
he heard S,G. Kittappa's rendition of that song. Mali joined this noble tribe when 
he asked All India Radio not to broadcast some of his discs on the plea of lack 
of standards ! A lofty deed in truth. 

Disc recordings. 
Concert tours : 


Titles : 

PadmaSri (1965), 
Venugana Alankara, 
Madurakala Praveena. 


indescribable softness and exhilarating melody with crisp adherence to tala 
and identity with sruti were the hallmark of his flute-play. Probably the world of 
art lost much by his imponderable life. 


(20th Century) 

Parents ; Subramania Filial & Pattammal 

Place of birth : Tiruvidaimarudur 

Learnt Tavil under Tiruvalaputhur Pasupathiah Pillai and has given 
accompaniment to several reputed nagaswara vidwans including 
P.S. Veeruswami Pillai. He was honoured by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 


Mahendra Varman, the Pallava Ruler of Kanchipuram, figures in the life of 
Apostle Appar for persecuting him and later finding himself converted to Saivism 
by the same Appar. He was an expert in tamil music and was responsible for 
the Kudumiamalai inscriptions in Pudukottai district. The main inscription 
mentions the tamil pannsShadjaGramam, MadyaGramam, Gandaram, Kaisika 
Madyannam, Panchamam and Sadarikam. Gramam is a group of tunes. Four 
types of panns and the manner of singing them are furnished. 
Dr. Mu. Arunachalam states that the classification of four types had 
disappeared long ago, that the notes would seem to be both for singing and 
playing on the yazh, The inscriptions occupy an area of 1 3' by 1 4' arranged in 
seven sections with sub sections each comprising fifteen sets of four swaras. 
Full swara notation for many grama forms which were then in currency are given. 
One cannot but wonder at the vast musical knowledge of the ruler and his great 
concern to perpetuate the same following the rock edicts of Asoka. 

R. Sathyanarayana of Mysore Brothers, in his 'Kudumiamalai Inscriptions on 
Music', states that the inscriptions are in pallava grantha script containing all the 
headings and the colophon in samskrithi with a line in tamil at the end. The term 
'Sankirna Jati ' occurring in the inscriptions is stated to be an honorific of the 
king in recognition of his expertise. 'It contains quadruple groupings of musical 
notes pertaining to the seven archaic suddha grama ragas... a precious evidence 
of musical practices in ancient India.' Authorities cited include Bharata, 
Matanga, Narada and Sarngadeva and contains musical data from puranas. 
The inscriptions are stated to have given rise to different views and 


A similar inscription at nearby Thtrumayam in Pudukottai district has suffered 
damage badly. 

MANGALAM : VEENA ARTISTE: (b. March 3, 1937) 

Place of birth : Sivaganga (now a district headquarters. Whether 

Papanasam Si van's 'Sivaganga Nagaranivasini' relates 
to this place is not clear.) 

Parentage : S.V. Subramanya Ayyar & Lakshmi Bai, a disciple of 

Pallaswami Raju and daughter of Flautist Kothandarama 

Musical training : Initially with mother; later under Visalakshi, Rishi Valley 


Debut : At the Shashtiabthapoorti of C. Ramaswami Ayyar. 

Mangalam Muthuswami has been giving veena concerts in India and abroad 
and on the AH India Radio, including a series of recitals for the benefit of refugees 
from Bangladesh. Gives vocal concerts too and her play on veena 'exudes firm 
grasp, depth and clarity'. 

Concert tours : Singapore, Australia, Middle East. 

Award received ; Surmani Award of Sursagar Samsad. 

Posts held : 

Faculty Member, Baratiya College of Music and Fine Arts, Bombay (1978 - 1 986) 
Faculty Member, Sri Shanmukhananda Fine Arts & Sangeetha Sabha (Since 1986) 
Examiner, Vocal Classical Diploma Course, Bombay University (three years) 


Mani was bom at Karaikudi, of Ramanatha Ayyar who taught mathematics 
and vocal music at the High school. It was not a strange combination of subjects 
for a pedagogue but the traits and attitudes of the father were inherited by Mani, 
who was subjected to a rigorous programme of multi-pronged training in vocal 
music for an hour, mridangam for an hour and school lessons for an hour to 
qualify for his morning cup of coffee from the exacting, knowledgeable parents ! 
As a boy his interest in music was immense and dedicated. He had his training 
in percussion for varying periods under - 

Karaikudi Rangu lyengar who was running a mridangam school 

at Karaikudi, 


T.R. Harihara Sarma, who runs a school at Madras and 
K.M. Vaidyanathan, the ghatam artiste. 

Having made his debut at the age often, Mani had been providing percussive 
support at concerts, harikathas and bhajans. He became a devotee of Tanjore 
Vatdyanatha Ayyar's style and won the President's Gold Medal in the AH India 
Radio Music Competition 1962 and later a Merit -Scholarship for advanced 
training. Karaikudi Mani is now a top artiste providing thrilling percussion to top 
musicians. Calm, collected, he gives compact, wsil-planned display of rhythmic 
excellence, innovative variations and subtlety. He provides constructive support 
to the principal musician and does not believe in loud displays. He has pleasing 
p!ay s rich artistry, virtuous styles, clarity and appealing rhythm. 

He is the Founder-Director of the 'Sruthilaya' percussion ensemble which 
seeks to present scholarly, intellectual rhythmic play in traditional styles. The 
ensemble has toured USSR, France, Italy, Belgium and U.K. Sruthilaya is 

available only for concerts abroad and for recordings. His organising ability is 
further reflected in his Tala Vichitra ensemble and the founding of ' Sruthilaya 
Seva Trust 5 . Training is provided to capable students. 

'Helodyssey* of musical orchestration of cultures inaugurated at Madras in 

^December 1991 is another venture of Karaikudi Mani comprising forty artistes 
of South Indian, North Indian and Western instruments with voices. 

The unique character of Mani is his not accepting titles! And he reigns along 
with other giants of the art showing how such titles have .little impact on 

percussive advents and popularity and the true image of a talented artiste. 

Disc recordings : 

* * * 

- PERCUSSIONIST: (bJune 21 ,1895) 

Parents : Sankaranarayana Ayyar alias Sri Sangappa Swamigal 

and Lakshmi Ammal. 

Percussion training : Mamundia Pillai, a percussion maestro and 
under Paiani Muthiah Pillai. 

Mani Ayyar made his debut in 1 920 and had accompanied prominent artistes 
on ghatam. The Music Academy, Madras honoured him with a Certificate of Merit 
in 1962. 


Panangudi Mani Bhagavatar underwent bona fide gurukulavasa under 
Papanasam Sivan during the thirties and inherited the rich legacy of the 


illustrious composer. (The author had the good fortune of sitting at the feet of 
Sivan when Mani was a very senior disciple of his.) Mani later served as Locturer 
in the Kalakshetra, Madras but died prematurely. Unfortunately details are 
wanting in respect of his life. 

K.S. MANJUNATHAN - GHATAM ARTISTE : (Deer. 27 1921 - April 23,1 989) 

Manjunathan of Bangalorfe was a prominent ghatam vidwan who haxi been 
giving able and distinguished support at concerts. He had training with S rin i vasa 
Ayyar and LS. Seshagiri Rao. He had been the recipient of honours including 
the Rajyotsava Award and the title of 'Karnataka Kala Thilakam' from the 
Karnataka State Nritya Academy. His ghatam accompaniment finds a record in 
disc recordings also. 

An All India Radio Artiste, Manjunatha was a renowned and popular artiste, 

* * * 


Mariappaswami was giving concerts from his twentieth year and weis a 
popular figure. He had composed three hundred songs on religious and 
philosophical themes. Has written songs for films also. 

Concert tours: Sri Lanka & Malaysia. 

* * * 


The period to which Matanga belongs is not clear. The name finds mention 
in the Ramayana, Mahabharata, Matanga Lila and Raghuvamsa. Whether the 
musicologist of great merit and reputation is one of these puranic celebrities or 
different is not known. 'Brhaddesi'ls the work of Matanga. Sambasiva Sastri 
who had edited the book for the Trivandrum Sanskrit Series says that nothing is 
known of the date of the work or its author. As the work refers to Bharata, Kohala, 
pattila, etc. , it should relate to a later period than they. Nanyadeva (1 097- 11 33) , 
in his 'Saraswati Hridayalankara' , written as a commentary on Natya Sastra, 
pays obeisance to Matanga thus: 

'How could people of lesser intelligence succeed in swimming across the Ocean of 
Melodies when such exponents of music like Matanga had failed to cross. ' 

Matanga views that no classical melody can be composed of four notes or 
less. He is reputed to have bpen an expert in musical instruments. Gowri 
Kuppuswamy - M. Hariharan mention that Matanga would seem to have graced 
the Court of Harsha (607-647 A.D). Matanga is the first musicologist to use the 


word raga in ragakadarnbaka, ragatalamalika or ragamalika ( navaratnamalika 
or nakshatramalika, pakshamalika or chaturdasamalika ). If Matanga is the 
father of desi prabandhas the prabandhas were the forerunners of all later 
musical compositions.' (Dr. S. Seetha) 

'Matanga undoubtedly excels all others in lucidity, erudition and details.' 


A musician of amiable manners, Meenakshisundaram Pillai brought out the 
book 'Tyagaraja Kirthanai Porul Vilakkam'to explain the content and significance 
of the songs of the Bard of Tiruvaiyaru. 


PERCUSSION WIZARD: (1894 - February 11, 1949) 

Meenakshisundaram Pillai was a legend in the field of percussion. He was 
widely known and much respected. A genius, his fingers did magical feats, and 
the tavil he handled revealed exhilarative potential in rhythm and his art bordered 
on riotous devilry. He was able to bring out stunning and surprising subtleties 
in laya. His sensitivity to Art extended to his personal belongings like polishing 
off his betel box almost every minute and provide an attractive cloth cover even 
to his (betel) nut-cutter! The genius was a diabetic and while asleep dissolved 
himself with eternity keeping up his rhythm with nature. He was good at playing 
kanjira. Had great (mutual) respect for Pudukottai Dakshinamoorti Pillai. At a 
concert, Dakshinamoorti Pillai playing mridangam forced him to sit on level with 
him. Meenakshisundaram felt that it was an insult to the dignity of the 
Pudukkottai maestro to sit so and stopped playing on kanjira itself! The tone of 
his play was strong and impeccable and his solos permutational and captivating. 

What was his public image? Here are two old incidents given long ago by 
S.R. Kuppuswami, Editor, Carnata Sangeetham : 

"Needamangalam was playing wonderfully but his figure was not visible to 
those standing beyond the close ring. One resikha in the surging crowd was 
anxious to know who it was, captivated by the play, and enquired. Casually I 
said that 'it was some new hand'. The rasikha observed: 

1 Whatever it be, it cannot be like Meenakshisundaram ! This player has to toil hard much 
more and his hands should speak the language much more (to bring out the fire of Pillai's 

Another time. At Tiruvaiyaru, a local tavil artiste was playing. Someone 
enquired and I replied just for fun 'Meenakshisundaram'. Prompt was the 



1 Aha, What a grand pSay ? What a fingering ? 
A lion is always a Lion! ' 

Meenakshisundaram was the word for dynamic excellence. He drew crowds 
wherever he went. A grandmaster in percussion, he was affable and genial and 
he played with ease but with snexhaustive energy. A creative artiste, few could 
match his innovative artifices and combinations, sound permutations and laya 
intricacies. N.R. Bhuvarahan says: 

The syllables that now murmered and now rumbled and thundered from his tavil were 
thriling with sweetness and strength, melody and rhythm.' 

Wizard Panchami, who died young as genius perhaps has to, once told Pillai, 

1 cannot produce your rhythm and melody.' A rare tribute by another titan. 

Pillai's disciples inluded - 

N.T.M. Shanmugha Vadivel, son, Nachiarkoil Raghava Pillai, son-sn- law, 
Mayavaram Govindaraja Pillai and Pandanalfur Ratnam Pillai. 

Disc recordings : He had accompanied Sembanarkoil Ramaswami Pillai. 

Title : 'Abhinava Nandiswarar 1 

Kanchipuram Naina Pillai told Dakshinamurti Pillai that 'mere profes- 
sionalism is not a guarantee of intelligent listening' and picked out one from the 
crowd at Sri Kapaliswarar temple who kept the beat with precision and perfection 
even during the three-speed tempo pallavi. When he made a request for the 
'perfect' listener to come, he found to his surprise that it was Meenakshi- 
sundaram Pillai and in choking voice declared: 

1 How lucky I am. Today I have been greatly honoured. Here is an insurmountable 
performer who is equally a true listener. ' 

(B.M. Sundaram) 

Meenakshisundaram Pillai had his gurukulavasa with Needamangalam 
Govinda Tavilkarar and Nagapattinam Venugopala Pillai. Made his debut as 
second to Mannargudi Narayanaswami Nagaswarakarar in his twelfth year. 
Quite strangely, he died in the midst of a huge gathering of well-wishers, relatives 
and admirers who had gathered for the marriage of his son. A good singer, he 
kept a very accurate diary and used only pure khadi. 


Yes. The prayer is made by the love-lorn lady to Senni Ilavalavan, the Chola 
ruler 'with the flower garland on'. Why? The melody that spreads from the flute of 
the cowherd irritates and embitters her in her soliloquy ! 'He may be a good ruler. 
What if ? He is not silencing the flute*, she laments ! 

'Muttollayiram* - Cited by Mee.Pa. Somu in Kalki D.M. 196. 


- VIOLINIST/VOCALIST: (b.October 30,1965) 

Daughter and disciple of Radha Narayanan, Meera Narayanan had further 
aining under Prof. T.N. Krishnan with a Government of India scholarship. She 
as been giving violin accompaniment from the age of nine and gives solo 
oncerts also. She is a vocalist having undergone training under 
).K. Jayaraman. A graduate, she has received awards from institutions and 

She made a unique marathon violin recital for 26 hours non-stop at 
in Ratnagirsswaraswami temple, Besant Nagar, Madras in October 1 986 setting 
i record then. Of course, this has since been surpassed by Violinist 

L Kanyakumari in 1 988 with a record performance of 29 hours. 

Title: Naanisai Vallabhi from Baktha Mandali, Ratnagiriswaraswami temple 
on September 4, 1982. 

* * * 
- VOCALIST: (b.Sept.14 9 1938) 

Parents : V.R. Viramani & Revathi Viramani 

A graduate in music of Madras University, Meera Seshadri learnt music and 
iancing from her mother, a good singer and dancer. She had her training in 
Sarnatic Classical music under the musical twins, B.V. Raman and 
3.V. Lakshmanan and in Hindustani Classical music under LR. Kelkar, a 
Jisciple of Vinayak Rao Patwardhan. She learnt padams and javalis from 
F. Jayammal. 

Meera Seshadri had been performing for over twenty-five years on the AH 
India Radio and elsewhere. Has been giving vocal support to bharatanatyam, 
kuchspudi and odissi dancers. She taught Carnatic vocal at Triveni Kala 
Sangham to many including foreign students. 

Concert tours: U.K. and African countries. 

T. MUKTH A - VOCALIST : (b A 91 4) 

Muktha hails from a musical family of stalwarts with Veena Dhanammal at 
its head. Daughter of Kamakshi, the last of the four daughters of that renowned 
vainika, Muktha had her preliminary lessons from her mother and then 
accompanied her elder sister T. Brinda for training under the celebrated Naina 
Pillai of Kanchipuram when they were seven and nine years old respectively. 
While Brinda had her tuitions directly under the maestro, Muktha had the 


benefit of listening to his lessons and concerts. The training lasted for six years, 
The sisters had started giving concerts even while undergoing training. For 
nearly six decades they had given concerts together - an impressive record. 
The long partnership came to an end only a decade back when Vegavauhini, 
named after the janya raga of Chakravakam, started accompanying her mother, 
Brinda as voice support. 

Disciples : R. Vedavalli, Nirmaia Sundararajan and Nirmala 

Parthasarathi (veena). 

Honours : Sang ita Nataka Akademy Award 1 972. 

Certificate of Merit from Music Academy, Madras 1984. 

Kanchi Kamakoti Peetha Sangeeta Seva Trust honours 


Semmangudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar Trust and Maharajapuram Viswanatha 
Ayyar Trust have also honoured her. 

Concert tour : USA 1990. 

* * * 


A ruler hailing from Bijjavara - Madhugiri in Tumkur district and a feudatory 
of Vijayanagar Kings, Mummadi Chikka Bhupala is stated to be a contemporary 
of Venkatamakhin, author of Chaturdandi Prakasika. He has authored the work 
Abhinava Bharatasara Sangraha, a treatise on musical theory. 'A merited 
compilation, it gives a systematic synthesis of the cultural history of South India 
in general terms and the musical history in particular. Has drawn inspiration 
from Sangita Ratnakara and other authorities like Dattila, Kohala, Matanga, 
Rama Maty a, Sangita Sara and Sakala Maha Sangraha. The work has been 
republished by Sri Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts, Mysore with Prof. 
R. Sathyanarayana as Editor. 


Born of Ramiah and Seethamma, 

at Denkanikotta, Dharmapuri district 

Learnt tavil under his distinguished maternal uncle, Venkataramanappaand 
has been a distinguished tavil artiste who had accompanied not only 
nagaswaram vidwans like Karukurichi Arunachalam and Namagiripettai 
Krishnan but also Flautist TR. Mahalingam, Sitar maestro Pandit Ravishanker 
and the Shenai maestro Bismillah Khan. It is an unique record and achievement 
indeed and speaks volumes about the wide spectrum of variations, percussive 
tonal adjustments and styles he is able to develop. Had won the acclaim of 


artistes and music-lovers. Has been a member of the Karnataka State Sangita 
Nataka Academy and has won many honours including 'Kalaimamani' from the 
Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1979. 

Concert tours : U.K., France, Germany, Singapore, Malaysia 

and Sri Lanka. 


Father and guru : Chitsabhai Servai of Ramanathapuram 

Brother and guru : Sankara Sivam of Ramanathapuram 

Murugabhupathy had training under his grandfather too. The first important 
concert for him (almost debut) was at Tiruchendur when he played for Chembai 
Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar as the nominated percussionist failed to turn up. The 
maestro had to take the young boy but as usual with him brought out of him the 
best play to the satisfaction of all. Murugabhupathy is ever grateful to him. He 
has been providing accompaniment to top musicians and was a favourite of 
flautist T.R. Mahalingam. Rich with age, he is in good style still. At the concert 
at Shanmukhananda Sabha, Bombay, as the drone was not sruti-aligned, 
Madurai Mani Ayyar relied on the sruti of his mridangam, states Murugabhupathy 
with pride. 

Posts held: 

Visiting Principal, Tamil Isai Sangham Music School, Madurai 
Member, Advisory Committee, Government Music College, Madras. 
Member, Fine Arts Faculty, Annamalai University, Chidambaram, 
Member, Experts Committee, Music Academy, Madras. 
Member, All India Radio Panel for Music. 

Titles & Honours : 

Sivaganga Palace Asthana Vidwan 1 949 

Kalaimarnani by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1 969 

Merit Certificate from the Music Academy, Madras 1 973 

Padma Sri from President of India 1 973 

Madhura Kala Praveena by Sadguru Sangita Samajam, Madurai 1 974 

Sangit Natak Akademy Award 1 975 

Sur Sagar Award - Bombay 1 976 

State Artiste, Tamil Nadu Government 1 979 

Isai Perarignar by Tamil Isai Sangham, Madras 1 979 

Palghat Mani Ayyar Award 1 985 

Sangita Kala Nipuna by Fine Arts Club, Madras 1 991 

Concert tours: Sri Lanka 1948 and 1951 


- BHAGAVATA: (b. 1918) 

Place of birth : Coimbatore 

Parents ; C.G, Sundaram Ayyar & AiameSu Annma! 

Musical background ; Grandfather Ariyur Gopalakrishna Bhagavatar was a 

bhajan specialist. Uncle Radhakrishna Bhagavatar was 
a musical discourses 

Balasubramaniam, now known as Pithukuli Murugadas, had studied uptothe 
eighth standard. M urugadas is the name assumed by him and Pithukuii, meaning 

a madcap, was an acquisition subsequent to an unintended episode with a 
sanyasi, who called him 'Pithukuli'. yurygadas left his parental house on a 
-pftgrtnrage with nothing but his ardent desire for spiritual pursuits. In 1938 he 
joined the Anandashramam at Tanjankadu near Mangalore. His subsequent 

peregrinations in his familiar dress comprising a four-cubit dhoti, jibba and a 
cloth-cover on his head, al! in khadt, took him to different places. He had 
undergone 'imprisonment for participating in a struggle for a public cause in 


Murugadas has an appealing voice and mode of rendition. His inseparable 
harmonium serves him well and with a tinge of the bhajan styles of Maharashtra 
and other places, his music has a strong mass base. With his knowledge of 

different languages, he is able to bring out the bhava-rasa of the different 

compositions. He has given thousands of bhajan concerts at most of the places 
of India, All India Radio and television. He plays on harmonium while singing. 
He is one of the few bhajan artistes out of a large tribe who continue devotional 

Concert Tours: South Africa, Sri Lanka, Europe, UK, Singapore, 


Disc Recordings: 

Publications: Devi pugazh & Guhanjaii containing his own 


Honours & Titles: Sangita Samrat by Sri Sivananda Saraswati of Rishikesh 

Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 


Devi Saroja, his wife and her sisters are disciples of his. 


Place of birth : Kandamangalam, Tanjore district. 

Parents : Sami Bhagavatar & Janaki Ammal 

Musical training under : His father and under Sangita Kalanidhi Chinnaswarny 



Post held : Assistant Professor, Central College of Carnatic Music, 


Honours : Certifiate of Merit from the Music Academy, Madras in 


Muthuswamy Ayyar was giving violin accompaniment at concerts. 


' The Dikshltar family adhered to the sampradaya of Venkatamakhin. The 
success was only partial. Present day musicians praise the system but few 
persons would have glanced inside the book... If the Chaturdan di Prakasika 
had been published a century earlier, the course of the present music would 
have been entirely different' 

Dr. T.S. Ramakrishnan. 

"Venkatamakhin (c. 1635/1660), second son of Govinda Dikshitar of Tanjore 
authored me. Description of seventy-two scales, their corresponding raganga ragas and 
upaganga and bhashanga janya ragas are given. Lakshana and lakshya gitas, tanas and 
prabhandas are provided to illustrate the karta ragas. 

In 1646, the Nawab of Golkonda invaded and the Nayak ruler of Tanjore had to flee. 
In 1673, he was killed in a battle and there was consequent political anarchy in the 

Tanjore area. To ensure my safety, like Panna Dai, the loyal nurse secreting Udai Singh, 
the infant son of Rana Sangha of Chitor in Rajasthan, I was taken into secret custody 

Venkata Vaidyanatha Dikshitar of Tiruvidaimarudur and 
Govinda Dikshita, both descendants of Venkatamakhin and 
the Sankaracharya of the Kanchi Komakoti Peetam at Kumbakonam. 

When I was under such anonymity, there was a development which affected much 
my future though not my life which was safe inside an incubator! Govindacharya of 
Kakavattaram brought out his 'Sangita Sastra Samkshepa* or 'Sangita Chudamani 9 
inspired by Akhalanka and published it with the help of the Tanjore Palace. Seventy -two 
melakarta ragas were named in accordance with the 'Kangipriya* nomenclature. 
Raganga ragas of Venkatamakhin and their janyas came to be treated janyas of the 
melakarta ragas. This received wide currency in the Tanjore belt and Tyagaraja is stated 
to have had a copy of it and used it in his compositions. Lavani Venkata Rao composed 
the 'Bahattara Melakarta Malika 9 in accordance with it and published it. Chandragiri 
Rangacharlu composed three hundred lakshana gitas - one for each of the ragas 
enumerated by Govindacharya. Tachur Singaracharyulu Brothers fully publicised the 
Akalanka tradition without acknowledgement towards the close of the last century or 
the beginning of the present. 


I would have remained still-bora or left in the forgotten incubator but fo 

Ramaswami Dikshitar (1735-1817) receiving me from Muddu Venkata Vaidyanath 
Dikshitar during the chance meeting at Manali. Muthuswami Dikshitar (1776-1835) am 
later Subbarama Dikshitar (1839-1906) tried their best to repair the wrong features tha 
had crept into the system during my 'affectionate incarceration". 

The Akhalanka - Govindacharya system known as the Kanakangi-RatnangiSysien 

had taken roots and is predominantly in use now. 


*Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar represented the Odyssian type devoting greatei 
time to raga elaboration. He used to venture boldly in the realm of fancy in developing 
a raga revealing fresh vistas of beauty to the delight of all and give new dimensions.' 

Vaiitfka's Merit 

'Invariably a soloist, Dhanammal plays and sings all alone with not even a 
mridangam for accompaniment. Only a sort of drone is kept on by the marvellous 
dexterity of her frail little finger that rubs the Pakkasaranis, a feature that stands in 
marked contrast to the loud, regular, intruding ding-dong of all other vainikas that 
resembles the chiming of Big-Ben in London/ 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 


Bidaram Krishnappa, Actor Lakshmipati Sastri, Kundoor Srikantiah, Tabla 
Surpandit and Mysore Vasudevacharya used to play a game of cards called KattheAta 
(Donkey game) . Fortunately the loser need not ride a donkey in the streets but should 
put on a uniform, hold up a rifle and give a military salute to the winner. Krishnappa 
lost the game and was about to take on the costume when a real sepoy entered and said 
that the Maharajah called him. Helplessly, the vocalist put on the uniform and holding 
a rifle gave the salute - all the time looking at the sepoy with a sense of embarrassment 
and shame. The sepoy enjoyed the maestro saluting him! A strange play. 




Eldest son of S. Mahadevappa, a violinist, Nagaraj was musically talented 
even as a boy and made his appearance on the stage at the age of eleven. Sine* 
then his rise to artistic heights has been phenomenal. Has a charming style and 
is giving accompaniment to prominent artistes and giving solo concerts also. A 
popular violinist, he is Staff Artiste of the All India Radio, Mysore. 

Concert Tours: U.S.A., Canada. 


Disciple of Govindaraja Bhagavatar, Nagaraja Bhagavatar was noted for 
sruti suddham, lively exposition and polished handling of themes for harikathas. 
He followed the style of Tanjore Krishna Bhagavatar. He was popular in Tanjore 

* * * 

V. NAGARAJAN - KANJIRA ARTISTE: (b. July 30, 1930) 

Son of the famous violin vidwan of yester decades Sangeetha Kalanidhi 
Papa K.S. Venkataramiah, V. Nagarajan had his training under two celebrated 
percussionists, viz., Tanjore Vaidyanatha Ayyar and Palghat Mam Ayyar, the 
later being the first percussioninst to be honoured with the title of Sangita 
Kalanidhi. Nagarajan made his debut in 1950 at Tiruchirappalli accompanying 
Alathur Brothers. Since then he has given percussive support to all artistes of 
repute. Kanjira was prominent a decade or two back. Now ghatam has usurped 
its place since the number of ghatam artistes te on the arohana and kanjira 
artistes are on avarohana. 

He joined the Faculty of the Wesleyan University as a Visiting Professor in 
1967 and taught at Berkely, California in 1974. He has trained a number of 
American Fulbright scholars. 

Honour : Asthana Vidwan, Sri Sankaracharya Mutt, Kanchipuram 

Disc recordings : 

Concert tours : Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore, USA, UK, USSR, 

Canada, etc. 


K. RAO - FLAUTIST; (b.190 

A nephew and disciple of the celebrated flautist Pailadam Sanjeeva Rs 
Nagaraja Rao was a popular flautist. His rendition sweet, melodious ai 
traditional. He stayed at Mysore. He invitations from abroad but did r 
choose to go. 

* it * 

'R. RAO - FLAUTIST: (July 1883 : 

Bom : at NachiarkosI near Kumbakonam, 

of Ramanatha Rao, landlord and violinist. 

General education : Matriculation at Pudukottai. 

Training in music ; Preliminary lessons in flute from Kannuswami Rao, 

brother of Swaragat Chittuswami Rao. 

Nagaraja Rao did not take to his scholastic studies kindly and came upf 
admonition from his uncle and guardian, R. Ramachandra Rao. Was faced wi 
the dilemma of abandoning music or deserting his uncie. Owing to his stubbo 
leanings to music, he left his uncle and took up tuitions to maintain himself. Lat 
became the village munsif of Nachiarkoil noted for its brassware, temple ar 
cultural background. In 1902, the flute maestro Sarabha Sastri tested him at 
found him well advanced in his art. However, Nagaraja Rao was not destine 
to have training under him as Sarabha soon lost health and later died in 190 
This led Nagaraja Rao to the eminent vocalist, Umayalpuram SwaminathaAyy 
and he had training under him for two years. 

Rao was noted for his raga alapanas, fast rendition and modulated ton 
felicity. A kindly, soft artiste, he had helped many young artistes to come up, 

* * * 

A Well known vocalist. A sourashtra, he was based in Madurai. H 
specialised in the songs of Tyagarajah and Wallajahpet Venkataramar 

Bhagavatar. Nagaswami Bhagavatar founded Sri Sadguru Sangita Samajar 
Madurai in 1911, which is a flourishing premier institution. 


(Now, 3 S 1878 - May 19, 195; 

The great lady of Bangalore belonged to the fragrant period which saw 
galaxy of illustrious women musicians like Veena Dhanammal, Sale 
Meenakshi, Enadhi Lakshmi Narayani Sisters, Coimbatore Thayee, Bangaloi 


Thayee, Tiruvarur Rajayee and Kolar Nagarathinam. The trio MSS S DKP, MLV 
joined them later. But Bangalore Nagarathinammal was altogether of a 
different type in that she was able to look beyond herself and music rendition 
and focus her attention on the source of such resplendent music. Her 
sublimated soul envisioned the Cauvery and its music - soaked cultured 
not only at Tiruvasyaru but at the distant Mercara where lies its source. Others 
came, sang and left. But her genius perceived something greater, enduring 
substantial. She enjoys the unique distinction of having surrendered her all to 
the service of the Great Bard of Tiruvaiyaru, Tyagarajah. With single-minded 
devotion and dedication, she sold her properties, pooled her income and 
the support of all to commence the construction of the Samadhi of Tyagaralah 
on the bank of the Cauvery on October 27, 1921 and perform the 
Kumbhabishekam on January 7, 1925. She started the annual celebrations 
(aradhana) on a firm and grand scale. The samadhi lands were donated by Sri 
Mannapa Saheb and Sri Rajaram Mannaji Surve. And she spent her last years 
there giving lessons on Tyagarajah songs at the Tyaga Brahma Nilayam', a 
dedicated construction work in which the eminent cine actor, Chittoor 
V. Nagayya played the principal role. Quite fittingly, her samadhi is located 
near the samadhi of the Bard. Another wish fulfilled. 

Nagarathinammal was an amalgam of sterling character, obsessive and 
noble dedication to good causes held dear to her heart and of dharmic conduct 
which combined in itself the essence of the Ramayana service - oriented 
characters Sabhari, Lakshmana, Vibhishana and Hanuman and the 
achievements on a mini scale of a Rajaraja Chola. Devoted to her gurus, she 
performed guru poojahs annually and also Hanumat Jayanti. She was chosen 
specifically to sing a Sanskrit invocation at the All India Sanatana Dharma 
Conference in 1929. She gave a large number of concerts and the bulk of the 
proceeds went for the construction of the Tyagarajah Samadhi and the Mysore 
Choultry at Tiruvaiyaru for the benefit of Kannadigas. 

Born at Mysore, of Vakil Subba Rao and Puttulakshmi, she learnt Sanskrit 
and music under Giripatta Thimmayyah and violin from her uncle Venkitasami 
Appa of Bangalore. Had further training in violin under Munuswamy Appa, a 
disciple of Wallajahpet Krishnaswami Bhagavatar. Her desire for knowledge 
was so intense that she learnt bharatanatyam under Bangalore Kittanna and 
abhinaya from Madras Tiruvenkatachariar. Her over-all vidwat was polished off 
by Bidaram Krishnappa. Puttulakshmi was discarded first by Subba Rao and 
later by Thimmayyah also. But she bore her travails and tribulations and 
brought up her daughter with an iron will. There is some resemblance in the 
teen-age sufferings of Nagarathinammal and K.B. Sundarambal but in the 
ultimate analysis, the former is supreme in enduring attainments. While 
Sundarambal hoarded material wealth, Nagarathinammal too did hoard but in 
the more enduring spiritual sphere. With multi-sided accomplishments, 
Nagarathinam made her debut significantly at Veena Seshanna's house in her 


fifteenth year. Palaces and institutions availed of her immense training an 
talents both in India and in Sri Lanka. It is said that she gave 1 235 engagemenl 
between 1905 and 1934, which is equivalent to ten times that now. 

She enjoyed a 'gambhira' voice. Her infatuation with the songs and life < 
Tyagarajah was so intense and sublime that she executed a will on January 
1 949 setting apart her assets to construct the Samadhi and to run a gurukula 
Tiruvaiyaru to propagate the Bard's songs. There was Yaga, Yoga, Thyagaar 
Bhoga with nadopasana in her life of suffering and achievement 

Her only daughter died. Her attempt to adopt a girl failed. Her suffering 
while young and these failures tended only to harden her admiration 1 
Tyagarajah, the Prince of Renunciation, and her resolve to accomplish ai 
achieve what all others had ignored. 

Her intense love of his songs was matched only by her passion 1 
Devaranamas and to demonstrate that Purandara songs could also be su 
likewise in such an elaborate and scholarly manner, she got up a concert 
Bidaram Krishnappa at Madras to be covered only by Devaranamas. Mysc 
Vasudevacharya says, 'Ragalapana, Swarakalpana, neraval, everything w 
there as in a traditional concert. The audience felt delighted. They realised 
the first time that the Kannadigas also have their own individualistic heritage 

On her music, Vasudevacharya says: 

' Her style of singing was religiously classical. She had accurate layagnana Her v< 
combined the melodic sweetness of a female voice with the dignity of a male voice. 
she had a sound knowledge of bharatanatya, her singing had an emotional app 
Yadukulakambhoji was her favourite. She was never afraid of any challenge from 
musician. ' 

She rarely handled the kritis of Dikshitar as she felt that she would not be a 
to do justice to them because of her inadequate knowledge of sansl 
Tyagarajah and Purandara had won her heart so fully that it had no space 
others ! 

Here is an assessment of her personality and life by Vasudevacharya: 

' A queen among dancers and singers, she was an apostle of modesty, 
pride of the Kannada Land, she was a selfless soul and had the boor 
beauty, learning and wealth In equal proportions.. .her respectful demea 
in the presence of senior vidwans attracted me. She stood as though c 
to offer worship, never even looked up.. .spoke little.. .a divine charm hallc 
her beauty '. 


Her publications include: 


Madhyapanam in telugu, 

Sri Tyagaraja Ashtothra Namavali in Sanskrit and 

Panchee Karana Bowdheeka in tamil. 

Jagarathinammal reprinted the telugu classic 'Radhika Swayamvaram' of 
Auddu Palani, a courtesan of the 18th century. Police seized all the copies 
aking objection to its high eroticism. Only in 1947 the ban was lifted. There 
afresh edition in 1952. 

Titles and Honours: 

L March 6, 1949 - Tyaga Seva Saktha by President of India. 
II. Vldya Sundari by Puranam Suryanarayana Thirthar 
iii. 1932 -Gana Kala Visaradha by Kaviraja Krishnamurti Sastri. 

vJagarathinammal needs no better honour than the appreciation and gratitude 
3f the thousands who gather annually at Tiruvaiyaru for the Aradhana. ' Earn, 
Conserve, Distribute', this is my life-mission, declared the Founder of the 
^nnamalai University. The application of the principle to the life of 
Nagarathinammal reveals that she belongs to the galaxy of eminent women of 
India. Literally she got dissolved in every respect in nadopasana ! 

Once, a marriage in a Komutti Chettiar's house was on when the bride's 
ninety-five year old grandmother was in a critical condition. Nagarathinammal 
giving the concert for the marriage took up towards the end the sloka:- 

'Prana Prayana Samaye' ( The time of soul's journey.) 

The song and the sentiment coincided with the real life-event on the 
occasion! (T. Sankaran) 


In yester decades, women's contribution to and role in concert music were 
limited. Of the few who were prominent, Kolar Nagaratnamma was one. Her 
mother Nanjundasani was a dancer and her brother Puttuswamiayya was a 
violinist. While her name is mentioned prominently, details are not known. 


He was a muslim artiste from Pudukottai famed for his thrilling play on the 
percussive instrument dolak rarely used at concerts. It is a tribute to his 
astounding expressive play that he had accompanied such stalwarts as Patnam 
Subramania Ayyar. Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar pays tributes to 


his innovative exposition and single-minded efforts to make every concert a 
success irrespective of the grade of the principal artiste. He used a jingle in his 
right finger to present exhilarating tinkling sounds. His percussive presentation 
was of such excellence that even Tanjore Narayanaswami Appa felt envious of 
his 'pare/is' (a method of play). Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar says that the 
embellishment 'deka' started with him, that he was a terror to other 
percussionists and that even Gandharvas would be enchanted by his 
eclecticism. Chote Miya gave him company as vocalist when he was not 
accompanying celebrities. Vide chapter on 'Contests and Challenges' in Part I 
too for Nannu's adventures. 

NARADA - MUSICOLOGIST: (1st Century A.D.) 

The work 'Naradiyasiksha* "has found a permanent place in the history of 
musicology. It deals with swara and chanda of vedic mantras in 230 slokas 
narrating both the vedic and the laukika swaras and gives a comprehensive view 
of ancient Hindu music." Narada refers to the importance of swaras, the seven 
swaras t three gramas, twenty-one murcchanas and forty-nine tanas constituting 
the swara mandal. He cites Tumburu, Vasishtha and Biswavasu as authorities. 
Both vocal and instrumental music are mentioned. Definitions are given. Swami 
Prajnananda mentions that microtones were perfected by Narada and he has 
called 'diptha, ayata, karuna, mridhu and madhya' as 'shruthis'. 

A number of treatises are ascribed to Narada. There have been a number 
of Naradas like Narada of the ninth century who authored Makaranda meaning 
musical pollens, in which forty-two ragas are mentioned. For the first time, the 
terms Purusha - Stri ragas are cited. 

These Naradas are different from the puranic musical sage and 
trouble-shooter (vide page XLIX of A Garland) . 


(b. August 12, 1919) 

' MAN. represents the Karnatak tradition in its purest form and is a veritable respositor 
of classical tradition. Affable, soft- spoken, he is ready with answers to all problems and 
is an authority. ' (E.R.Sethuram). 

Place of birth : Mysore 

Parents : MA Krishnaswamy lyengar & Rajamma. 

Initiated in music by his mother, Narasimhachar joined the then prestigious 
Music College of the Annamalai University, studied under the stalwarts Tiger 
Varadachariar, Ponniah Pillai, a descendant of the Tanjore Quartette family, 


Sathur Krishna Ayyangar and T.K. Rangachariar and got the 'Sangeetha 
Bhushana' title in 1 940, being the first Mysorean to get it. He learnt veena from 
K.S. Narayanaswamy; and obtained a student certificate from the Trinity 
College of Music, London in Western music too in 1939. He is blessed with a 
very good voice. 

Started 'Ganakala Mandira 1 in 1942 atJMysore later shifted to Bangalore in 
1 972. Simultaneously Narasimhachar started his performing career in 1 942 and 
made his entry into the musical circles at Madras in 1 945 at the elitist Jagannatha 
Bhakta Sabha, Madras. Ever since he had given innumerable concerts at 
sabhas, for Doordarshan and on the All India Radio, Jammu and Kashmir in the 
north toTrivandrum in the south. He popularised the rare compositions of Veena 
Kuppiah, Wallajahpet Venkataramana Bhagavatar and Anaiayya besides many 
musical operas. He has chaired many conferences and seminars. The senior 
musician has enjoyed a very good concert demand. His knowledge of many 
languages and the science and art of music enables a versatility rarely enjoyed 
by many artistes. His vast repertoire provides scope for presentation of papers 
on varied technical issues and aspects of great value to the music world. 

Publications : Veena Seshanna 

Tirukkodikaval Krishna Ayyar 
Tiger Varadachariar 
Theory of Music 

^ all in Kannada. 

Posts held : Lecturer, Maharani's College, Mysore 

Lecturer, College of Dance, Drama, Music and Fine 
Arts, Manasa Gangotri, Mysore. 
Head of the Department of Music, Acharya Parasala 

College, Bangalore. 

Examiner in Music & Musicology, Kalakshetra and 


Special Lecturer to Post-graduate students at the 

Bangalore University. 

Guru for the third batch of students 1 988-89 in gurukula 
teaching for the South Zone Cultural Centre, Tanjore. 

Honours ; Sangeetha Jyoti by Swami Shivananda of Rishikesh 

Ganakala Bhushana by Karnataka Ganakala Parishat, 

Bangalore in 1 987. 

Honour by Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Trust in 


Concert tour : Sri Lanka 

Among his disciples, Lakshmi and Saraswati, his sisters and 
M.A. Meera and M.A. Mythili, his daughters give concerts. 



Narasimhachar had his musical training under D. Subramanya Garu, a 
disciple of Tachur Singaracharyulu. He had made a detailed study of Sanskrit 
works on music. Was connected with the Madras Music Academy since its 
inception and had contributed much to the high-level deliberations of the Experts 
Committee of the Academy. He organised the Saraswati Gana Sabha, Kakinada 
and published a book on 22 srutis, talas, pallavi and biographies. He brought 
out the telugu version of Divya Prabhandam and the book 'Evolution of Carnatic 

He was honoured by the Telugu Basha Samiti and by the Music Academy, 
Madras with a Certificate of Merit in 1973. 


(b. July 15, 1943) 

Son of the legendary gottuvadyam maestro K.S. Narayana lyengar and 
Jayalakshmi, Narasimhan is a vocalist and chitra veena artiste presently working 
in the Vadya Vrinda ensemble of the All India Radio, Madras. Narasimhan is a 
silent professional, unostentatious but a devoted artiste who delights in 
preparing, moulding child prodigies, his son Ravi Kiran being the earliest in 1 969, 
(Vide his biography elsewhere in this book.) Sashikiran, Kiranavali and 
Sudarshan (Ganesh) are among his special products. 

Central Sangeet Natak Academy awarded Senior Fellowship to him in 

M. NARAYANASWAM1 AYYAR - MRIDANGIST: (b. Septr. 30, 1919) 

Place of birth : Kumbakonam 

Parentage : Muthuswami Ayyar (Mridangist) & Seethalakshmi 


Father was a disciple of the renowned Azhaganambi PiHai and Flute maestro 
Sarabha Sastri was -his sister's husband. The musical background enabled 
young Narayanaswami to aspire for a place in the field of music and his father 
chose percussion as his field of specialisation because of his own expertise in 
it. Narayanaswami had his training in mridangam successively with his father, 
Umayalpuram Kothandarama Ayyar. Azhaganambi Pillai, Rangu Ayyangar and 
Rangaswami Ayyangar. The varied training under celebrated percussionists 
equipped him with deep insight into the finer nuances of percussion. In 1936 he 
made his debut at Kumbakonam with Veppathur Balasubramania Ayyar, 


Vocalist, Vedaranyam Krishnamurti on violin and Ayyaru Pillai on kanjira. 'With 
diffidence I started with my body profusely perspiring but slowly picked up with 
encouragement and it ended well.' The elders had strangely withheld the fact of 
his making the debut till he was asked to take his seat with the mridangam! 

Narayanaswami Ayyar recalls the demonstration of Per/a Morahs' of 35 
talas, etc., at the Music Academy on December 23, 1963 at the instance of 
Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar. He has been the recipient of many gold and 
silver medals and the titles of 

Mridanga Jyoti from Adyar Arogya Ashram and 

Laya Marthanda Mridanga Jyoti from the Manipal Sabha, Udipi in 1981. 

Narayanaswami Ayyar has been conducting Tygaraja Aradhanafor the last 
forty-five years with the picture of the Saint-Composer handed over to him by 
his sister and wife of Sarabha. Earlier he was Secretary to the 'Chinna Katchi' 
(Small Party) presided over by Sanjiva Rao which conducted the Aradhanafor 
a long time separately; the 'Peria Katchi' (Bigger Party) had Azhaganambi Pillai 
as Secretary. Ayyar has accompanied most of the tall stalwarts of Carnatic 


(20th Century early part) 

A prominent vidwan well-versed in theory, Narayanaswami Ayyar was a 
respected vocalist. Unfortunately his voice did not match and respond to his 
immense musical acumen like Ettayapuram Ramachandra Ayyar and 
Papanasam Sivan. His high position would be clear from the fact that he gave 
the concert with Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar on violin and Palani Krishnier on 
ghatam for the 'seemantam' of the illustrious flautist Sarabha Sastri at 
Kumbakonam. Soolamangajam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar has high respect for 


Father : Lakkavalli (Chickmagalur) Chamanna. 

Learnt music under : Krishnappa, an accompanist to Chintlapalli 


General Education : S.S.LC. 

Bhagavatar went over to Madras and had his advanced music training with 
Pallavi Narasimha Ayyangar and at Kanchipuram with Naina Pillai. In 1938, he 
started giving concerts and was providing accompaniment to important 


musicians. He was a violinist of immense capabilities, style and knowledge. 
'Apara Pandithya* is the word used by Dr. Sampathkumaracharya in respect of 
him. H.V. Krishnamurti is one on whom he bestowed not only his vidwat but also 
his daughter. There are similar cases where the guru takes one of his intelligent 
disciples as a son-in-law. He had tuned the songs of D.V.Gundappa and has 
composed songs taking select passages from the Ramayana. In 1953, he 
started the Vijaya Music College at Bangalore. 


Place of birth : Tiruchirapalli 

Parentage : A.K.Chinnakrishnan, clarionet artiste and Rukmani 


Learnt music from : Alathur Venkatesa Ayyar of the celebrated 

Alathur Brothers. 

Nagaswaram from : Illuppur Natesa Pillai and 
Clarionet from : A.K. Chinnakrishnan (father) 

Natarajan made his debut in 1946, became a staff artiste with the All India 
Radio, Calicut for six months in 1 949 and later at New Delhi during 1 950-52. He 
resigned his job to avail of the heavy demand for his performances nearer home. 
The first concert worthy of memory was at the then famous Jagannatha Bhakta 
Sabha, Madras and soon his prestige rose high. With his training in nagaswaram 
and clarionet and music from a celebrated vidwan, he was the one artiste who 
was competent to give classical exposition on the nonpliable clarionet with 
capability and merit. As is well known, few had prospered as clarionet vidwans 
save perhaps Abbayi and one or two others. Natarajan is able to develop and 
project continuity and bring out shades of raga swaroopas and swaras with 
maximum felicity possible on the instrument. He is very popular and his 
concerts are well attended. 

Titles and Honours: 

Quite at the start of his career in 1 952, he was placed on top of the highest peak of 
the clarionet Himalayas by the Nagaswara maestro T.N. Rajarathinam Piilai by con- 
ferring on him the title of 'Clarionet Everest 1 at Nagapattinam. 

Clarionet Samrat by Sivananda Saraswati, Rishikesh 1 958 
Presentation of Gold Clarionet at Kannika Parameshwari Temple, 

Tiruchirapalli, which he presented to the Defence Fund 1 958 

Clarionet Chakravarti by the Maharaja of Mysore 1 969 

Isai Perarignar by Tamil Isai Sangham, Madras 1 988 

Madura Kala Praveena by Sadguru Sangeetha Samajam, Madurai 1989 

Sangita Sagara by Visakha Music Academy, Visakhapattinam 1 990 
Asthana Vidwan, Dharmapuram, Tiruvaduthurai and Kanchi Kamakoti Maths. 

Honoured by the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Trust 1 991 


A.K.C. Natarajan is an eloquent exponent of Carnatic music on clarionet 
after clarionet Abbayi, with few competitors for over four decades. 


NAGASWARAM ARTISTE: (Deer. 1 5, 1 869 - d. - ) 

Natarajasundaram Pillai hailed from a family of nagaswara artistes and 
hymnodists tracing their ancestry to Sesha Pillai of Kalyanasholapuram, a 
sarndha player and hymnodist. His son Kulandaivel Pillai was a veena player 
and his son Swaminatha Pillai (1840 - ) was a disciple of Koorainadu 
Ramaswami Pillai and was taken to Tiruvizhimalalai by the Mutt-head of 
TiruvaduthuraL Natarajasundaram Pillai, his son along with his brother Siva- 
subramania Pillai had his training under Umayalpuram Doraiswami Ayyar and 
Sathanur Panchanadha Ayyar, two prominent musicians of the day. The advent 
and practice of duo nagaswaram play are attributed to Sivasubramaniam. 
Hitherto, it was totally raga alapana, pallavi and ragamalika rendition by 
nagaswaram artistes. If raga was developed to pristine heights, credit goes to 
them, They would start at 8 or 9 or 10 p.m. and end only with the dawn. 
Enchanting rendition based on melody and vicranti would flow in the still hours 
of the night for the music-lover and the Gods to regale themselves with. Mostly 
the nagaswara artistes stood standing or walking pouring out ' the nectar of 
Nada, which is the basis of all Vedas, Puranas, Agamas and Sastras ' ( Nada 
Sudharasambilanu - Arabhi raga of Tyagarajah ). The Tiruppamburam 
Brothers, for the first time, introduced quite a number of Dikshitar kritis in their 
play. Thus they were trail-blazers. 

Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar, Sarabha Sastri, Ramnad Rajah and 
Chunambedu Zamindar were special patrons and admirers. Swamioatha Pillai, 
the eminent flautist and Somasundaram, nagaswara teacher, were his sons. The 
brothers were known for perfect sruti, total alignment and captivating rendition. 


(19th Century II Half) 

A pioneer in forming a musically-talented dramatic troupe on the lines of the 
marathi stage, himself composing fine nirupanams (explanatory songs) in 
different languages, Natesa Dikshitar was a fine composer. His father Tyagaraja 
Dikshitar was also a fine composer. Natesa Dikshitar was a court physician. H 
started the 'Jagan Mohana Chit Vilasa Sabha' for presenting concerts and 
dramas and got round a galaxy of talented artistes li-ke 


Raja-part Koneri Rao (for hero's role) 

Stri-part Kalyanarama Ayyar (for heroine's role) and 

Rakshasa-part Ramaswami Ayyar (for villain or demon roles). 

Dikshitar was a popular vidwan of merit and Sarabha Sastri, the erninen 
once gave violin support for his concert at the residence 01 

Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. 

* * * 

Parents : Ayyaswami Pillai and Lakshmi Ammai 

Training in 

Nagaswaram under : Kuppuswaml Piilai. 

He had accompanied eminent nagaswara vidwans and was honoured with 
a gold medal by Musiri Subramania Ayyar and the title of 'Kalaimamani 1 in 1973 
by the Tamil Nadu Sangeetha Nataka Sangham, Madras. 


Acolossal work of eternal benediction to devotees was achieved by Sriman 
Nathamuni by collecting four thousand verses called 'Divya Prabandh&rn * and 
setting them to music. A native of Kattumannarkoil near Chidambaram, he 
happened to hear some hymns once and captivated by them, went round to the 
birth places of Nammalwar, etc., and collected them. T.S. Parthasarathy says 
that Nathamuni did for Divya Prabandham what Nambiandar Nambi rendered 
for Thevaram. Dr. U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar belongs to this tribe of dedicated 
souls of wisdom - human honeybees indeed. They collected because they 
could not desist from doing so and they wanted the world to be better duly 
benefited by their labour. They were the messengers of the Infinite. 

* * * 
T.R. NAVANEETHAM - FLAUTIST: (b . October. 16, 1 922) 

Daughter of Rajamanickathammal, a 'sadir' artiste, Navaneetham was born 
m ' a P ' ace known for its musical excellence near 
dance and music from her m ther and flute from 
- ade her debut as a flautist at the te "der age of eight, 
SIXty years f concerts and is sti " 9<>lng strong. S he 
StOCk and repert ire ^ takin 9 9 uida " ce fro" celebrities 
Ayyar ' Kum bakonam Nagaraja Rao ' and 


Titles & Honours: 

Kuzha! Isai Arasi by Kumbakonam Rajamanickam Pillai. 

Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1 969. 

Honoured by Ramani Academy of Flute 1 990. 

Award from Muthamizh Peravai 1 992. 

* * * 

Popularly named as 'Needumoorti' after Pallavi Gopala Ayyar's Nattakurinji 
song Needumoorti, which he used to play invariably in his solos, Neelamegham 
Pillai was the stock violin accompanist for several years to Bangalore Thayee. 
He was staff artiste, All India Radio upto 1942. 


Nothing about his period, parentage, training, etc., is known definitely. It is 
said that he switched over from administrative work to become a Siva Yogi of 
the Veera Saiva Cult. He was a scholar and a musicologist-composer who had 
written many works including Viveka Chintamani on Sangita Sastra dealing with 
srirti, swara, alankara, grama, jati and instrumental music. His compositions are 
in Sanskrit and kannada under the signature 'Shambulinga'; and he is also called 
'Nijaguna Aradhya'. 


(July 12, 1905 -April 1984) 

Nori Nagabhushanam Pantulu was born at Nandur in Andhra Pradesh, of 
Viswanatha Sastri in a family of musicians. Learnt vocal and violin under his 
father and later with Masulipatnam Hari Nagabhushanam for sometime. He 
completed the study of Sanskrit, sahitya and vedas and made his debut as a 
musician in his tenth year. Was teacher in the then district board schools. He 
was giving a large number of performances and earning honours. A devotee of 
Tyagarajah, he conducted special festivals from 1930 to 1942 at Bapatla. He 
was Principal of the Government Music College, Secunderabad during 
1952-1962, Was member of the Experts Committee of the Music Academy, 
Madras and of the Sangita Natak Academy, Andhra Pradesh. 

Has composed varnas and swarajatis. The Madras Music Academy 
honoured him in 1972 with a Certificate of Merit. 



Hugh and Colleen Gantzer writing on the charm of Orcha near Gwalior narrate 
the tale (or what?) they were told: 

*Rai Praveen was a courtesan, poetess and singer. The Mughal Emperor wanted 
her for his harem. She penned and sent a poem saying, "Crows, dogs and scavengers 
sup on food left over by others. Of what breed are you, My Lord". Confronted by the 
poem, the Emperor rescinded his order... Sometimes, you can hear her singing still 
from yonder mansion of hers.' 

The fundamental human instinct crying for self-respect finds beautiful 
expression in this. The ferocity of the metaphorical categorisation had clearly 
impelled total disarming of the Moghul Emperor's initial overtures. 


Music is essentially a soft art in spite of ragas like Atana, shouting songsters and 
thumping percussionists. Still occasions had arisen sometimes: 

a. Mayuram Munsif Court: Disciple sued Koorainadu Natesa Pillai for 
discrimination among students in teaching. Suit failed. Vide A Garland. 

b. Bidaram Krishnappa v. Madras Artiste: Fortunately it stopped with notices. 

c. Arumugha Navalar v. Ramalinga Swamigal: Suit failed. 

d. K. B. Sundarambal Charities: Legal notices and reply were given. Result not 
known. The artiste had created an endowment of all her properties through a 
registered deed and a registered will. Unfortunately the issue had not been properly 

e. There were one or two concerning living artistes which are not mentioned here. 
Fortunately they would seem to have been settled smoothly. 



Father : T.S. Rajagopala Ayyangar. 

Academic B.Sc. (Mysore), MA (Kanpur), M.Phil & Doctorate from 

Qualifications : Bangalore University. 

Musical training Mysore Vasudevachar, T. Chowdiah, Puttuswamiah, 

under : Chelva Pillai lyengar, H.S. Krishnamurty, 

R.R, Keshavamurti, 

Sangita Sastra with Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma. 

Sangita Vidwan Diploma from the Mysore Music College. 

Padma Murthy has had extensive training under renowned musicians and 
has been giving concerts for over three decades, taking part in seminars and 
conferences on music and musicology and contributing articles. Has been 
Professor and Head of the Department of Music, University of Bangalore. Has 
published the work 'Sangita Lakshana Sangraha'. 


(April 26, 1863 - Novr.18, 1949) 

Place of birth : Trivandrum. 

Parents : Suchindram Sthanu Bhagavatar, an adept in singing 

Ashtapadi & Lakshmi, also musically talented. 

Veena training under : Eldest brother, Veenai Sarrkaranarayana alias Aiyah 

Bhagavatar (1 846-1 888) . 

He had gufdance from Palghat Parameswara 
Bhagavatar and Kalyana Krishna Bhagavatar. 

Posts held : Veena Player at Mahadheva Temple, Vaikom. 

Music Teacher, Government Girls High Schools. 
Debut : At the Trivandrum Navarathri Mandapam in 1 876. 

Padmanabha Bhagavatar was an expert in playing ragam, tanam and pallavi 
and was noted for the elaboration of Kalyani, Surutti, etc. ragas. A distinguished 
veena player, he was tutor at the Palace. The eminent tamil composer, 
T. Lakshmana Pillai was among his disciples. 


Padma Narayanaswamy had her training in the erstwhile Government Music 
College, Madras and got her Sangeetha Vidwan Diploma in 1 964 and had further 


intensive training with a Government of India Cultural Scholarship under the 
distinguished Vocalist Musiri Subramania Ayyar. Married in 1965 
K.V. Narayanaswami one of the present top vocalists who was then with the 
Government Music College and was her guru too therein. 

She has been giving concerts on the radio and in sabhas and lends vocal 
support to her reputed husband in his concerts. In 1974-75, had a teaching 
assignment at the American Society for Eastern Arts, Berkeley, California, had 
participated in the Berlin Music Festival, 1977 and had given concerts in the 
USA, Europe and Canada. In 1984-85, she accompanied K.V. Narayanaswami 
to teach and perform at San Diego State University. 


Daughter of R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar, the renowned musicologist, 
vainika, teacher, and disciple and admirer of Veena Dhanammal, Padma 
Varadan had the benefit of an immense musical environment and the wisdom of 
her father while young. In her ninth year, she started giving concerts on the All 
India Radio. Since then, she has given quite a number of concerts first with her 
distinguished father and later separately. Her veena play is soft and soothing 
(which her father used to favour much), satisfying, musically elevating and 
bhava-based. The legacy she inherited has not only been made proper use of 
but Padma Varadan has taken genuine efforts to enhance the merit of the same. 

Concert tours: Sri Lanka, Singapore, USA and Europe. 

* * * 


Two families of Tanjore had distinguished themselves, viz., the family of the 
Tanjore Quartette and that of Govindaswamy Nattuvanar. To the latter belonged 
Pakkiri Pillai, son of Ammalu Ammal. In days of yore, nattuvanars were all 
conversant with play on mridangam also. Pakkiri Pillai had his training under 
Kuppuswami Nattuvanar, made his debut at a musical discourse of Patti Krishna 
Bhagavatar and had been accompanying all harikatha exponents. Patnam 
Subramania Ayyar drew him out to one of his concerts and therefrom Pillai had 
provided accompaniment to all the top vocalists of his day. 

B.M. Sundaram states that Narayana Appa appreciated the play of Pakkiri 
Pillai and said that it would resemble fragrant rosewater spray - soft and 
satisfying. Krishna Bhagavatar called him 'Sunadha Bhoopati'. A peculiar 
characteristic of Pillai was that he would be seen always with his umbrella 
whether it be a concert or elsewhere - the Chamberlain of Tanjore! 



Parents : - Gurumurti Nayanakarar and Naadi Ammal 

Place of birth: Deepambalpuram, Tanjore District. 

Musical Training with: Tirukkarugavur Sivagurunatha Pillai, Tavil, Tiruppam- 

buram nagaswaram Nataraja Pillai and Srivanjiam 
Govinda Tavilkarar. 

He was permanent accompanist on tavil for nagaswaram Mannargudi 
Chinna Pakkiriah Pillai. Enjoyed a pleasing personality and displayed 
remarkable imaginative skill in dexterous rhythmic manipulations. Thanjavur 
Upendran, a popular mridanga vidwan was his grandson. 

B.M. Sundaram states that the present practice of a senior joining the team 
as 'Special Tavil' was not in vogue in early times. Lt used to be said - 

For Nagaswaram, Mannargudi Pakkiri; 

For Tavil, Ammapettai Pakkiri and 

For Konnakol, there is Mannargudi Pakkiri. (a different artiste). 

Each had distinguished himself in his respective field aftd all were household 

An incident is cited to highlight the sense of dignity and self-respect of 
Ammapettai Pakkiriah Pillai. Pleased with the brilliant nagaswaram play of 
Mannargudi Pakkiriah Pillai and the vibrant tavil of Ammapettai Pakkiriah Pillai, 
the trustee of Sri Kandaswami Temple, Madras brought two golden 'thodas'. The 
nagaswaram artiste having received one already on his right hand, held out the 
left hand too and the trustee out of delicasy gave him the second too. Enraged 
at the slight, Tavil Pakkiriah Pillai walked out of the place never to play together. 
Later they played together but without a shade of whisper between themselves. 

11 Music forgot the insult; 
Profession ignored the slight; but 
Self- respect held 'its' head high! " 


(b. April 10, 1948) 

Born at Haridwaramangalam, of Kumaravel Pillai and Sethukannammal, 
Palanivel had his training in tavil play under his father and Kalaimamani 
Tirucherai Muthukumaraswami Pillai. A vibrant player on tavil, he is a popular 
vidwan and has trained many. A front-line artiste, he has been honoured with 
many titles like: 

Tavil Isai Tilakam, 
Tavil Isai Kurisil, 


Laya Vadya Kaianidhi and 

Kalairnamani from Tamil Nadu Eyai Isai Nataka Mandram in 1980. 

Concert tours: U.S.A., Canada and Sri Lanka. 


March.22, 1935) 

Panchami was a versatile wizard in vocal music, tavil and kanjira. Besides 
he was a composer too. He had high musical connections like lluppur 
Ponnuswami, his violinist uncle, Natesa Pillai, nagaswara brother, etc. By the 
age of six, he revealed ample signs of high promise and a glorious future. Had 
his training with Malaikottai Venkatachala Tavilkarar and Lalgudi Angappan, 

He was a constant accompanist to Perambalur Angappan, a very prominent 
nagaswara vidwan. While he showed his talents at the tender age of six at 
Bikshandarkoil, he made his debut at the Malaikottai temple, Tiruchirapalli atthe 
age of nine. Restless impatience to reveal his multi-faceted genius led him to 
different walks of musical life as indicated below: 

Started career with his brother, Natesa Pillai as Tavil player. 

Was with Madurai Ponnuswami Pillai in 1919 and with the Todi Wizard, 
T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai during 1924-27. 

Turned a vocalist conscious of and impelled by his melliflous voice in 1 927 
Resumed tavil and kanjira play in 1929. 

As a kanjira vidwan, he had accompanied prominent musicians like 
Dr. Semmangudj Srinivasa Ayyar. Tavil Panchami was a household name for 
sheer brilliance, dexterous finger-play, bristling laya expertise and innovative 
presentation. He was religious and wore only hand-spun khadi. There was 
everything that was good and great with him except a sudden twist in his career. 

B.M. Sundaram states that he inherited addiction to drink during his brief 
tenure with T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai. Both were genuises- one in melody and 
the other in laya. Twenty-six year old Melody passed on its pet weakness to 
nineteen-year old Percussion! Percussion had to wind up its stay on earth in a 
decade, though Melody managed to last for three decades more. Could it be 
that the acquired habit hastened Panchami's untimely death? The glamorous 
player died at the prime of his career and Art lost much, Death due to alcoholism 
is Suicide and a Tragedy and here Art hastened the tragedy by imbibing the 
suicidal practice. Drink is fire to sulphureous Art! (Vide "Boom, Booze, Doom" 
at page 444 of 'A Garland") 

While his popularity and place in the annals of Carnatic music are inscribed 
as a tavil vidwan, that he was an excellent vocalist with a mellifluous and speedy 


brika voice, that the erudite musician had composed the chittaswaras now 
appended to Palukavemi (Poornachandrika), Niravadisukhada (Ravichandrika), 
Sobhillu Saptaswara (Jaganmohini) and Mariyadagadura (Sankarabharanam) 
and that Kanchipuram Naina Pillai selected him for giving vocal concert on the 
occasion of the marriage of his daughter are not commonly known! Such facts 
elevate Panchami in the estimation of admirers and he was a genius. 

* * * 


A disciple of Syama Sastri and scholar, Panchanada Ayyar was a prominent 
composer. A devotee of Lord Vighneswara he adopted the signature 'Danti 
Mukha Janani' and 'Panchanada'. 

The following are among his compositions; 

Arabhimana Ragamalika in 1 6 ragas 

Birana Brova Yide Kalyani 

Sarasijanetra Kalakada (1 3) 

Palimpavamma Mukhari 


Father Choodamani Sastri 

Guru Ambi Subramania Bhagavatar. 

Debut Bangalore Town Hall in her eleventh year. 

Papa Choodamani had given concerts on the All India Radio and elsewhere. 
Had a melodious voice and a good sweep of the upper octave. 

Title: Gana Visaradhe by the Mysore Maharaja in 1 965. 

* * * 


After Sarngadeva, author of Sangita Ratnakara, Parsvadeva is a prominent 
authority and it would appear that he was a near- contemporary of Sarngadeva. 
While Sarngadeva does not quote him, Simha Bhoopala refers to him, says 
Dr. V.S. Sampathkumaracharya of Mysore. Dr. V. Raghavan has stated that the 
musicologist would have lived between 11 65 and 1 330 A.D. 

Parsvadeva has authored the work Sangita Samayasara which deals with 
raganga, bhashanga, upanga classification of ragas and the lakshanas of 
forty-three popular ragas of the period. Seventy-five slokas deal with ragas and 
the author styles himself as an 'Ocean of Music'. 



(1 879 -Octr. 1958) 

Son of bharata natya artiste Amman! Ammal, Pasupathia Pillai had his 
training under Achalpuram Dharmalinga Tavilkarar (father of the eminent 
Chidambaram Vaidyanatha Pillai) and the eminent Ammachatram Kannuswami 
Pillai - (Vide page 106 and 396 -A Garland). Pasupathia Pillai was very popular 
and was one of the top tavilkars but was incapacited at the peak of his fortunes, 
blood oozing out from his fingers if he struck or played! He was forced to be a 
teacher and among his disciples were Nachiarkoil Raghava Pillai and 
Tiruvalaputhur Kaliamurti. 

M.P. PERIASWAMI @ Pe.THOORAN - COMPOSER : (Septr. 26, 1908 -) 

Place of birth : Modakurichi / Manjakattuvalasu in Coimbatore district. 

Parentage : Palanivelappa Gounder and Paavaathal. 

A born teacher, patriot and a composer of merit, Periaswami Thooran is a 
respected figure. He was greatly influenced and inspired by Mahakavi 
Subramania BharatL He declined to sit for his examination for Bachelor of Arts 
shocked by the execution of the immortal Bhagat Singh, a prince among patriots 
by the British. (Vide the life of K.B. Sundarambal for a like reaction.) Thooran 
qualified later passing B.A., LT, A voracious writer, he composed over six 
hundred songs on national, spiritual and moral issues. He wrote 'a poem a day' 
for several years after his daily poojahs. His song 'Adu Ratte' was a clarion 
patriotic call which was widely in current use during the Freedom Struggle. He 
became popular and the melody queen N.C. Vasantakokilam included this piece 
in her concerts invariably. (It is unfortunate that the sublime atmosphere that 
prevailed during the Freedom Movement is a mirage now. One has just to 
recollect Subramania Bharati's Thanneer Vitto Valartom and other songs.) A 
precocious chifd and later a man with noble ideals, Thooran is an acknowledged 
poet and composer. Analogous to Tyagarajah's 'Santhamulekha, Soukyamu 
ledhu', Thooran's 'Santhamillamal sukham undo? (Nattakurinji) stresses that 
there is no joy without patience and no contentment amidst worries. Deep 
philosophical truths lay hidden in his simple devotional songs. Musical 
aesthetics and bhavafind abundant evidence in his compositions. 

With profound poetic talents, he had to seek like Arunachala Kavirayar 
outside help to set his songs to tune as he was not a musician. He availed of 
the services of Sivaramakrishna Ayyar as guru and choreographer. 
(Sivaramakrishnan was bom in 1913 at Mavelikara in Kerala and had joined Sri 
Ramakrishna Vidyalaya as music teacher in 1937.) Thooran had also availed 
of the services of senior musicians like K.V. Narayanaswamy, T.M. Theagarajan, 
T.K. Govinda Rao and T.V. Sankaranarayanan to set his songs to music. 


Eminent musicians like Tiger Varadachariar, Musiri Subramania Ayyar and 
Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar had spoken highly of his compositions. His songs 
have been brought out in five volumes titled 'Isai Man/ Manjari'. Annamalai 
University, Alliance Company, Tamil Isai Sangham and Tamil Writers' Association 
have brought out his works. His publications include 'Thooran Stories' (1 962), 
'Nalla Nalla Pattu ' (1965) Vail of the Wild 'and 'Bharati ' for children. 

His claim to fame rests on his memorable contributions to tamil. He was 
Chief Editor, Tamil Encyclopaedia during 1 948-1 978 and the encyclopaedia went 
into ten huge volumes. The credit for bringing out the first-ever Children's 
Encyclopaedia in tamil in ten volumes also goes to him. His life was one of 
fulfilment and enduring contribution of intellectual excellence. The moral code 
of conduct he set for himself was -high. When T.S. Avinashilingam Chettiar 
granted him a salary of Rs.thirty, he took only Rs.fifteen per mensem. This 
reminds one of the former Prime Minister Lai Bahadur Sastri, Gottuvadyam 
Sakharama Rao and Violin Sundaresa Ayyar of Tiruvalangadu and men of such 
unstained galactic stream. 

Posts held: 

Teacher in Gobichettipalayam - 4 years. 

Warden & Teacher, Sri Ramakrishna Vidyalaya, Perianaickenpalayam - 1 5 years. 
Chief Editor, Tamil Encyclopaedia - 1 948 - 1 978. 

Chief Editor, Tamil Kalai Kalanjiam, a prestigious journal. 

Honours arid Titles: 

Padma Bhushan by President of India 1 968 

Isai Perarignar by Tamil Isai Sangham 1 972 

Kalaimamani by T.N. Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 1 970 

Annamalai Chettiar Award by MAC Charities 1 978 

Thooran's multi-sided interests covered the deliberations and activities of - 

The All India Radio, 

Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram., 

Tamil Isai Sangham , 

Central College of Carnatic Music, 

Tamil Kalluri, etc. 

R. PICHUMANI - VAINIKA: (b. May 18, 1920) 

Born in a family of musicians, R. Pichumani had training in vocal music under 
Jalra Gopala Ayyar at the age of ten and later veena with Tiruchi Kuppanna. At 
the age of fifteen he won the prize for Carnatic Vocal at the National College. 
Became a 'Sangeetha Bhooshanam' of the Annamalai University under the 


stalwarts Tiger Varadachariar, K.S. Narayanaswami Ayyar and V.S. Gornati 
Sankara Ayyar. 'On the foundations of the intensive training received there, he 
built for himself a distinct Classical Carnatic aesthetics enduring the pressures 
thrust on him by the materially rich and gorgeous world of cine-music in which 
he had to serve for a number of years during his early years. 5 (R.V.) 

For nearly five decades, Pichumani has been a dedicated sampradaya 
vainika having given over 1500 concerts on the radio, doordarshan, sabhas, etc. 
He is a respected vidwan known for unruffled rendition at once satisfying and 

Posts held : 

Secretary, Tiruvaiyaru Tyaga Brahmotsava Sabha (1 980) 

Selection Committee Member and Chief Examiner for Vidwan courses in 

State Music Colleges. 
Faculty Member and Board Member for Practical Examinations, 

Annamalai University. 

Honours & titles: 

Shanmughavadivu Award (twice) from the Music Academy, Madras. 

Kalaimamani & 

Gold medal by the Tamil Nadu Eyai Isai Nataka Mandram 1 970-71 . 

Sangeetha Ratnam by Bharatha Natya Academy 1 959. 

Veena Nada Mani by H,H. Sankaracharya of Kanchi 1 982. 
Veena Praveena by Santhome Arts Academy. 

Award by Sangeet Natak Akademy , Delhi 1 989 

Sangita Kaia Nipuna by Mylapore Rne Arts 1 991 . 
(Veenai Vithagar, Veenai Isai Vithagar & Nadakanal are the other titles.) 

R. Pichumani has composed swarajatis, varnam, javalis and a tillana and 
has invented the raga, Vasantha Kaisiki. Has trained many disciples including 
his sons, R Viswanathan of the All India Radio and R Chandrasekharan, a 
professional veena player. 

Disc recordings: 

* * * 


A family of eminent musicians, dance masters, composers and teachers of 
Tanjore with its high watermark in the illustrious Tanjore Quartette has given 
successive waves of artistes. The present generation includes K.P. Kittappa 
Pillai and K.P. Sivanandam Pillai. Their father, Ponniah Pillai was born at 
Pandanallur, of Kannuswami Pillai, a dance master then at Baroda. He had his 
training in 


Music, dance and ; with PandanaSlur Meenakshisundaram Pillai - 15 years; 

Tamil, telugu, etc. : under competent instructors and 

Advanced music : under Paighat Anantarama Ayyar and 

Tiruvotriyur Tyagayyar. 

Ron nsah Pillai had learnt mridangam under T.R. Vaidyanatha Ayyar also. After 
training, he joined his father, who had then returned from Baroda to Tanjore, in 
teaching music and dance. Tanjore Vaidyanatha Ayyar, the percussion stalwart 
was among the disciples. 

Ponniah Pillai was Lecturer, Music College of the Annamalai University 

taking both vocal and mridangam classes. The University had then a number 
of distinguished musicians and Pillars teaching acumen attracted considerable 

appreciation. K.S. Narayanaswamy, Veena Vidwan states that 'we would attend 
his mridangam classes whenever we did not have our own 1 . It indicates the 

genial attitude and the teaching acumen of the master. Was Member, Madras 
Music Academy Experts Committee and the Syndicate of the Madras University. 
He had presided over numerous conferences. 

Compositions : Jatiswarams, Tana Varnas, Kirtanas & Tillanas. 

Tour ; Sri Lanka where he held summer classes. 

Publications : Isal Eyal 

Seyalmurai Isai Nool 
Tanjore Peruvudayan Perisai 
(containing the songs of his ancestors), 

His songs were published in the University publication titled 'Rajah 
Annamalai Karuvoolam* in 1949 by his sons. He was closely involved in the 
Tamil Isai Movement and had presided over the Tamil Isai Conference in 1941. 

The Music Academy conferred on him the title of 'Sangita Kalanidhi' in 1 933. 
Ponniah Pillai composed the initial ten 'adavus' with 120 subdivisions for 
bharatanatya, besides framing the model programme for dance concerts with 
alarippu, jatiswaram, sabdam, pada varnam, swarajati, padam, ragamalika, 
sloka and tillana. 

The most interesting fact about his family is that many of them were experts 
in the triple field of music,dance,and composition. Ancestry is traced to 
Gangaimuthu of Sankaranarkoil, who with his brother Ramalingam, was in the 
service of Maharajah Thulajah of Tanjore. The genealogy passes through 
Subbarayan, Sivanandam of the Quartette, Sabapathi and Kannuswams to 
Ponniah Pillai. The great lakshana vidwan who was a distinguished teacher and 
composer was a good mridangam player too. 


pyf^DAS-KAVlTmLA- MUSICOLOGIST: (C.151O - 1576) 

Vittala is the author of the quartet of works: 

Shadraga Chandrodayam , 

Nattana Nirnayam , 
Ragamala and 

The' first work gives details of his biography. He was born at a plaoo called 
Sathanur near a hill known as Saivagangamalai, of Vittalarya and Nagamba in 
about 1510 A. D. Probably he derived his name after the name of the local deity, 
Vittalarayaswami or Vittala Gopalaswamy. He was a scholar in Sanskrit and 
kannada and well- versed in dance and music. The odd factor in his \\fe is that 
he did not shine in that abode of art and culture, Vijayanagar but had to m igrate 
to Anandavalli, capital of Khandesh ruled by Burhan Khan for patronage, 
Shadraga Chandrodayam is dedicated to this patron. Then he was at Gwalior 
with Rajah Mansingh Tomwar and at Delhi patronised by Mana Sim ha and 
Madhava Sirnha, who are referred to by Vittala in his Raganirnayam. At Delhi 
he was patronised by Emperor Akbar, to whom Narthana Nirnayam was 
dedicated, The work Ragamala was completed on July 30, 1576. He has 
described and praised sixty-six ragas in slokas. T.S. Parthasarathy 

' Perhaps he is the only theoretician who was well-versed in both the systems - Raga 
Ragini and Mela systems. He was able to secure a respectable place at Ahmednagar, 
Gwalior and Delhi. ' 

Why his native kingdom failed to provide him with a congenial berth is left to 



(to. 1943) 

Bom at Hyderabad, Purnachandra had knowledge of telugu from his* father 
and kannada from his mother. Learnt the themes and art of musical disseourse 
from his mother. Learnt music from Tirumalachariar and Balasubramania 
Bhagavatar. Was noted for his musical discourses. Was employed in Central 

Honours & Titles : 

Nataka Bhushanam, Gayaka Ratna Sudha Nidhi, 
Bala Bhagavata, besides medals. 



1 A handsome stripling with a curious coiffure that subsequently became 
the fashion among his fans, clad in spotless white muslin with loose 
sleeves flying about, with eyes closed and the music! What an intoxicat- 
ing voice, responding readily, with incredible ease and grace, to the 
surging crescendo of ravishing, sophisticated music conjured up from a 
highly imaginative mind! And how the audience rocked and swayed as 
if in a trance 1 , 

observes R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar of Pushpavanam of Madurai, a disciple 
of one of the renowned teachers of yester years, Ettayapuram Ramachandra 
Bhagavatar. The teacher prayed for a disciple who would blend his unmatched 
expertise with a divine voice and Pushpavanam was the answer and gift to him. 

Pushpavanam was a musical discovery, a treasure-trove. The 
Slower-garden', which the name of the vocalist actually means, was a veritable 
garden of raga, tana, pallavi, kriti and swara and he was a master of concerts 
with few to challenge; but unfortunately, he passed away too soon leaving an 
undying name and fame. His daughter, Rajam was a vocalist and Sangita 
Kalanidhi Madurai Mani Ayyar was his nephew, 

In a tribute, Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar says that Pushpavanam 's music was ' as 
attractive as his personality... effortless... His voice was his forte and audience 
listened with pin-drop silence'. He writes in the Journal of the Music Academy 

that Pushpavanam developed raga alapana leisurely, that his wonderful voice 
was noted for power and sinuous beauty and that it was difficult to see or talk to 
him. Pushpavanam would go away the minute the concert was over. As I write 
this sentence on September 5, 1 991 , a news item in the 'Hindu ' reveals: 

'Most of the top tennis players don't hang out. They go, they play and they 
leave. Everybody has his own entourage and keeps to themselves! - (Gigi 

' We don't talk. Just say " W. I just walk by and they walk by me. That is the whole 
contact we have, ' Monica Seles. 

(No wonder it is so. Tennis brings staggering prize money in astronomical 
figures even for defeats! ) 

Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, the celebrated musical discourser 
wrote long back in 'Kalki ': 

1 Pushpavanam's voice was a gift of Heaven. No accompanist is required to render 
his concert memorable. 

Musicians 1 remuneration at that time went up only because of his stringent 


attitude. He stipulated and got what he wanted. Sometimes, the host-organiser 

would pay double the stipulated sum captivated by the scintillating music of the 
artiste. Was a little conceited. Once all the great musicians had come for a 
function but he did not come as his stipulation had not been confirmed. Only on 
receipt of a telegram, he chose to come. And finally, he got a double of that 

amount, the host surrendering to the magical wizardry of his matchless melody!' 


Place of birth : Deogiri in Haveri taluk, Karnataka. 

Parents ; Revayya and Siddamma 

A distinguished instrumentalist and composer, Puttaraja Gavai was born 
blind and is a disciple of Chandrasekhara of Venkatapura Hiray Mata who was 
a disciple of the celebrated Panchakshari Gavai. In fact the Gadag Punyashrama 
is stated to have been started by Panchakshari Gavai and Puttaraja Gavai, 
Probably both had played a great and noble role in the life of that institution, 
Learnt violin from Raghavendracharya. Puttaraja is a genius who can also 
handle harmonium, sarangi, dilruba, sitar, tabla, etc. He belongs to the select 
band of great musicians who were or are blind but had found no inhibition on 
that account in achieving expertise and high image in the field of music. (Vide 
'A Garland' on blind bards.) 

Puttaraja has brought out many works and dramas like - 

Sivasarana Chinnayya, 

Sevati Matsara, 


Stri Jivana, 

Akkamma Devi Purana (in Shatpadi metre). 


Kannada was his medium but his Guru Gita is in Sanskrit and Basava Purana 
is in hindi. Had many disciples. 

Honours & Titles : State Sangita Academy Award 1 962 

Ubhaya Vadhana Kanthirava 
Ubhaya Qayanacharya 
Sangita Sahitya Ratna, etc. 


Father and guru : Mare Gowda 

Further musical 

training under : Rangachar, Ananta Sastri & Bidaram Krishnappa 


Mridangam training 

under : Muthuswamy Devar of Mysore. 

Place of birth : Tagadur village, Narsipur taluk. 

Started with tabla and took to mridangam later. Made his debut playing 
his guru Bidaram Krishnappa in his fifteenth year and has been having v\ 
practice. Puttaswamayya is one of Karnataka's elder mridangists. 

Honours & Titles: 

Sangita Ratna By Maharaja Chamaraja Wodeyar 

Gana Kala Sindhu By Mysore Sangita Sammelan 
Gana Kala Ratna By Mysore Gana Kala Parishad 
Sangeet Natak Akademy Award 1 962 

Puttaswamayya was the President of Mysore Kalabhivairdmi Sabha an< 
started the Kanakadasa Vidyarthi Nilaya, Nanjangud. 


Parentage : Tirumukkudal Agastya Gowd & Sundaramma. 

(A brother of T. Chowdiah, the renowned violinist.) 

Musical Preceptor : Bidaram Krishnappa for six years. 

Debut : At Sri Ram Temple, Nanjangud with brother T. Chov 

on violin and Mysore Muthuswamy Devar on mridar 

A traditionalist, Puttaswamayya was noted for his raga exposition and p* 
elaboration. Has trained many disciples. Puttaswamayya was Profess< 
Music, University of Bangalore. 

Honours & Titles: 

Honoured by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Mysore 1 938 

Gana Vidya Varidhi by Mysore Sabha 1 969 
Gana Kala Ratna by Kala Parishad, Bangalore 

Sangit Natak Akademy Award. 1 971 

Disc recordings: 


'Example is the school of mankind arid they will learn at no other.' 

Edmund B 

* * * 



i. The tamil adage says, 'Vallavanukku pullum ayudham' (Even a grass blade is a 
mighty weapon to the strong). Nikfail Mohanto presents exquisite music with a leaf 

covering alapana and songs producing the sound of a shenoi. (Doordarshan 

October 23 ? 1990) 

ii. Tulasiram Bhimrao Sutar of Lanjwad, Bidar, Karnataka gives thirty-minute 
programmes with a fresh leaf. 


Music is a fine art to the art-lover for entertainment and enlightenment; 
a profession and means of livelihood to the musician; 
an accoustic phenomenon and a science on sound for the 

musicologist; but it is 

Nada Yoga or Nadopasana, the worship ofNada Brahman and 
the easiest way to salvation for saints and philosophers from 
Yajnavalkya to Tyagaraja. 

T.S. Parthasarathy. 

ii. 6 Jhere is a wrong belief that Carnatic music is Brahmin-oriented music. Actually it 
owes as much to non-Brahmins as to Brahmins. According to Manu, a Brahmin can 
only teach music but not take it up as a profession. ' * 

"Most vidwans and vidushis fail to build over the great compositions their own. 
These compositions which are the backbone and glory of Carnatic music have 
become more a hindrance than a help to their creativity/ 

'It is time v/e had second thoughts on the Ariyakudi paddhati followed in recitals. I 
personally think it has done incalculable damage to Carnatic music... Unfortunately 
it has put the system into a strait-jacket and spelt disaster to the musicians' creativity. 
He is now compelled to pack a dozen items into a recital... He has lost his freedom 
when freedom is the essence of our music/ 

RGKin Indian Express 

Note: Such canards were spread by imperialist stooges and vested interests even regarding 
independence movement, satyagraha and Indian National Congress then. 




Son and disciple of Rama Ayyar of Lalgudi, Radhakrishna Ayyar was a 
popular figure who enjoyed a large circle of admirers including the Rajah of 
Ramnad where he was asthana vidwan. He brought up his sons, Madurai 
Kandaswami Bhagavatar (1 890 - 1 939) and V.R. Gopala Ayyar (1 900 - 1 979) as 
violinists. (While the former settled at Vaigai-fed Pandyan Madurai, the latter 
chose to remain at his ancestral, Cauvery-fed Chola village of Lalgudi.) He was 
a flautist too and ran a music school at Lalgudi. Inspired by a Swamiji, he took 
to asceticism and set up an ashram at picturesque Kallidaikurichi on the banks 
of Tambraparni praised by Muthuswami Dikshitar in his song Sri Kantimatim 
(Desi Simharava raga)> as Suddha Tamraparni. An anguished mother went, got 
his release and brought him back to family life, In an old photo, Lalgudi 
Radhakrishna Ayyar shares the stage with his violin on play along with Maha 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Patnam Subramania Ayyar and Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar 
(all vocalists), Tanjore Narayanaswami Appa with his mridangam and 
Umayalpuram Narayanaier with his ghatam. That shows his rank. 

T.K. RADHAKRISHNAN - FLAUTIST; (b. July 14, 1919) 

Father T.G. Krishna Ayyar was the author of 'Lalitha Dasar Kirthanas' and 
mother was Annapurani Ammal. Bom in a musical family, Radhakrishnan had 
his training in flute with the famous Palladam Sanjeeva Rao and theory under 
his grandfather T.A. Krishna Bhagavatar. For his concerts, Radhakrishnan had 
been accompanied by eminent violinists like T. Chowdiah, Rajamanickam Pillai, 
Govindaraja Pillai and Pappa Venkataramiah. The flautist was honoured with 
the title of 'Kalaimamani' by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1978. 


Flower and fragrance, word and its meaning and several such combinations 
are noticed for harmonious, homogenious blending of two in one. It is so with 
Radha Viswanathan, the Yamuna which merges and dissolves its musical 
talents in the melodic Ganges of Prof. M.S. SubbuIakshmL The tendril revolves 
around the stem but retains its identity. In Radha's case, it is Jeevathma joining 
the Paramathma - two voices in total absolute blend rendering melody more 
melodious. At Dhanushkodi or Kanyakumari, the Bay of Bengal meets the Indian 


composite whole. The dissolved sugar can be separated but the dissolved 
rendition of Radha "does not lend itself to this process. That is its intrinsic merit! 
Daughter of Sadasivam, she could not have wished for a better exposure to art 
and music. Music made her home its favourite prime abode and so Radha had 
minimum need for formal training in the usual sense of the term. Do fisher boys 
attend swimming classes? 

T.R. Balasubramaniam gave her some lessons while Ramnad Krishnan and 
Mayavaram Krishna Ayyar taught her a little. Step-mother M.S. Subbulakshmi 
and Radha jointly learnt padas from T. Brinda and kritis from Semmangudi 
Dr. Srsnivasa Ayyar. The school of Musiri Subramania Ayyar lent some training. 
The step mother's influence was so affluent that Radha was quite soon an 
accomplished vocalist More than for her solo concerts, Radha is known much 
as the voice-support of M.S. Subbulakshmi. The mutual affection and love and 
the unique exposure of Radha from childhood to the music of M.S.S. so shaped 
the music of the two that it came to be the glory of Classical Carnatic music. To 
the accustomed eye, MSS without Radha looked like Saraswati without veena. 
Radha learnt bharata natyam also from Vazhuvur Ramiah Pillai and the 
'arangetram' was in 1945. 

Radha had her stint srt-films while young as 

six year old Bharata in M.S.S.' "Sakuntala" and as 
baby Meera in M.S.S. musical extravaganza "Meera 11 . 

Radha fell ill seriously and had a miraculous recovery, Here is a description 
by Gowri Ramnarayan in 'Sruti' on a benefit performance of M.S.S. on March, 
12, 1983: 

Half way through the recital the unexpected happens. The curtain drops - in the midst 
of a Classical Carnatic Music programme? When it rises, there was Radha/ 

It was her first appearance after her illness and there was universal welcome to 
her coming back to the concert stage. A world of sympathy was with her aiding 
her recovery. 


A giant among musicological sanskritists, Dr. V. Raghavan's contributions in 
the twin fields of Sanskrit and Carnatic music are substantial and immense. 
His writings cover a wide spectra and the output is not only classic but 
authoritative. He edited the Journal of the Music Academy from 1 935 to 1 979, 
the souvenirs of the Academy Annual Conferences from 1943 to 1978 and the 
Music Academy series of songs in notation, etc, The bibliography of his 
published works cover; 


Books and Monographs 15 

Articles on Sangita 38 

Articles on Trinity 25 

Articles on Non-Trinity Composers 28 

Articles on musical instruments 21 

Articles on music, dance and fine arts 57 

An aasu kavi (spontaneous composer), his original compositions include 
Sri Ramanatha Suprabhatam, Meenakshi Suprabhatam, sabdas and kirtanas. 
The Suprabhatams are noted for poetic, vedantic and devotional excellence and 
he wrote an entire kavya on Muthuswami Dikshitar for which Sri Sankaracharya 
of Kanchi awarded the title of 'Kavi Kokila 1 . The other title conferred on him was 
} Sakala Kala Kalapa'. His analysis of the life of Tyagaraja in 'The Heritage of 
Tyagaraja'ls classic and could scarcely be excelled in its reach and depth. 

I had the privilege of instituting the recitation of Sri Ramanatha Suprabhatam 
at the famous symbol of emotional and spiritual integration of India, Sri 
Ramanathaswami temple, Rameswaram in 1966 and he was very much 
pleased at that and 'He' too should have approved His first servant's (the 
author's) action. 

Dr. Raghavan was a Founder-Member of the Music Academy and played a 
great distinguished role in its development and in the deliberations of the Experts 



Kerala enjoys the privilege with Burma (Myanmar) of producing quality teak 
and the Keralite percussion maestro, Palghat Raghu was born at Burma. One 
of the top mridangam artistes, Raghu has developed a distinct style of his own 
full of technical excellence, effortless fingering and innovative vibrancy and 
display. He claims that his training initially under Tinniam Venkatarama Ayyar 
and later under the percussion wizard Palghat Mani endowed him with the rich 
artistic heritage left behind by Tanjore Vaidyanatha Ayyar. Raghu is a respected 
mridangist acknowledged for his vibrant dexterity and artistic brilliance. He is a 
Graduate in Mathematics. Mathematics and music have close consanguinity 
from ancient times. 

His concert tours abroad include - 

U.K. in 1960 at the invitation of Yehudi Menuhin to participate in the Bath Festival; 

U.K. in 1963 to perform at the Edinburgh International Festival; 

U.S.A. in 1965 as Visiting Professor, Wesleyan University when he gave several 

concerts with Pandit Ravi Shankar and Ustad Alia Rakha - a combination of 

mridangam and tabla for sitar; 


U.S.A., Australia, Singapore and Europe either for teaching or for concerts 
Honours and Titles: 

Sangeetha Choodamani by Sri Krishna Gana Sabha, Madras 

Fellowship of Sangeet Nataka Academy, Kerala 1 98O 

PaSghat Mani Ayyar Award 

Sangeet Natak Akademy Award 

Padma Sri by the President of India 

Mridanga Chakravarti by Cleveland Association 

Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 

B.S. RAJA AYYANGAR - VOCALIST: ( 190 o - 198O) 

Sweet melody, pleasing invigorating voice with a tinge of the feminine gnaoe 
and felicity in rendition, smooth and captivating tempo, measured brikas a.nd 
lakshya predominance qualified the singing of B.S. Raja Ayyangar. His voice 
traversed the upper octave with elegant ease and timbre. His dlso 
l Jagadoddharana'was the rage of the thirties and even the hurrying feet paused 
for a few moments to catch a glimpse of the captivating music. If S.G. Kittappa 
electrified the dramatic stage in Tamil Nadu, Raja Ayyangar did the like of it on 
the concert stage. ' Ksheerasagara' (Devagandhari) was another favourite of 

80171 at : Banavar village in Arisikere district in Karnataka 

Initial training he had with his maternal uncle and then joined the dramatic 
company of Varadachari of Mysore and learnt music from Harmonist Cham a 
Rao. Popularity crowned him soon and recognition was quick to reach him He 
had a round of advanced training under K.V. Srinivasa Ayyangar of the Tiger 
Brothers. Made his debut at Egmore, (Was it at the Jagannatha Bakta Sabha?) 
He had the distinction of singing at the Akhil Bharath Sangeet Sammelan 
Madras in 1927 which was a landmark in the annals of Indian Music. For three 
decades he held his high stature and won many laurels having made his entry 
at the Travancore Palace in 1924, at the Mysore Palace in 1928, the Music 
Academy in 1932, and distant Karachi in 1 936. 

Honours and Titles: 

Many medals 

State Sangeet Natak Academy Award 1 967 

Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat - Gana Kala Bhooshana in 1 970 

Gana Kala Nidhi and other titles. 

He has donned the role of Narada in the film 'Satya Harischandra'. 
Disc recordings. 

* * * 


V. RAJKUMAR BHARATI - VIOLINIST: (b. June 24, 1958) 

Parents : RS.V Subramanian and Lalitha Bharati 

General Qualification : B:E. (Electronics & Communication) 

Musical training under: Initially his mother, 

Valliyur Gurumurthy - 12 years 

Dr. Balamurali Krishna - 2 years 

T.V. Gopalakrishnan during the last ten years - 

both Carnatic classical and Hindustani classical. 

Debut : 1 974 for a marriage 

1 976 Indian Fine Arts Society, Madras. 

Rajkumar Bharati is a popular artiste who commands a rich, vibrant voice 
and graceful rendition. He brings out a rich crop of gamakas and embellishments 
in his rendition. Has given about seven hundred concerts on the All India Radio, 
Doordarshan and sabhas. Has been accompanied by distinguished violinists 
and percussionists. He expresses his gratitude to T.V. Gopalakrishnan, his guru, 
for the immense interest taken by him in his progress. 

Concert tours: USA, UK, Singapore and Malaysia. 

Honours: Asthana Vidwan, Shri Datta Peetam, Mysore. 

Disc recordings: (Devotional and light classical). 

Rajkumar Bharati is the great grandson of the immortal National Poet, 
Subramanya Bharati and like his illustrious ancestor, he quit his job, not for 
politics (since India is independent and there is no struggle for its libertion), but 
to devote his time and energy to promote the welfare and culture of mankind. 


Master of Arts in Indian Music with special diploma in music, Rajalakshmi 
Narayanan has been giving veena and vocal concerts on the All India Radio and 
elsewhere and demonstrations at seminars. A number of students from America 
have been specially trained by her in veena. She is Professor in Veena at the 
Government Carnatic Music Training Centre, Madras. 

* * 


World War II was on. The Japanese were advancing towards India. Just 
within a week or two, Madras was to be bombed. Thousands of families had 
evacuated Madras for rural centres. Tanjore was then humming with 
local people and the fresh arrivals. Rajalakshmi Raghavan was then 
born at Tanjore. Mother had been trained by Veena Seshanna of 


Mysore. Her sisters are all well trained and two of them were giving 

Rajalakshmi joined the Central College of Carnatic Music in 1961- 62 and 
had her veena-main under the renowned Devakottas A. Narayana Ayyangar. 
She got the diploma securing the first rank. Had taken the Teachers' Training 

Was veena teacher at the Tiruvaiyaru Government Music College 

(1 965-1 980) and is Lecturer in Veena at the Government Music College, Madura! 
since 1980. She has given numerous concerts on the All India Radio, sabhas, 
etc. and has been celebrating Tyagaraja Aradhana on a lavish scale at Madurai. 


Rajalakshmi Thirunarayanan hails from a family of musicians of Mysore. 
Had taken the Master's Degree in Music in 1967 from the Mysore University. 
She is a Lecturer in the Bangalore University, Had undergone training with 
V. Venkatagsri, Lalgudi Jayaraman and Prof. R.N. Doreswamy, having started 
her training at the early age of seven. She has been giving concerts for 
Doordarshan, All India Radio and others. Has authored the book 'Music 
Theory', a text for the Senior Grade Music Examination in Karnataka. 


(1900 -Deer. 27, 1971) 

Place of birth : Kurumbal near Tiruvarur 

Name of father : Swaminatha Ayyar. 

Percussion training : Ghatam under Talagnayar Gopaia Ayyar & 

Kodimangalam Narayanaswami Ayyar 
Mridangam under Tiruvarur Kuppanna Rao 

Rajagopala Ayyar started with ghatam and moved over to mridangam. Had 
worked as teacher for mridangam at the Kalakshetra and at the Music Trinity 
Sabha, Tiruvarur. He was doing 'Nadopasana* playing on mridangam in a Radha 
Kalyana Mahotsavam when he died in harness as the 'haratf was being shown. 
Tiruvarur Nagarajan, his son, plays mridangam and kanjira. 

R.A. RAJAGOPALAN - PERCUSSIONIST: (b.December 20, 1952) 

Place of birth : Bangalore 

Parents : Father R.A. Krishnamacharya, Retired Professor, 

Sanskrit College, Bangalore and a Harikatha Vidwan 


and mother RARajalakshmi. 

Training : Training in mridangam under T.A.S. Mani, Karnataka 

College of Percussion, Bangalore and subsequently in 

Rajagopalan made his debut in 1968 at Bangalore and has been providing 
accompaniment to leading vidwans mainly in ghatam. Now he is Staff Artiste, 
All India Radio, Bangalore. 

Concert tours: 

With Taia Taranginf of T.A.S. Mani and with his sister-vocalist, 
R.A. Ramamani. 

Disc recordings* 

* * * 

S. RAJAM - MUSICIAN & ARTIST: (b.Feforuary 10, 1919) 

The Musician: 

1984 February - Ettayapuram - Muthuswami Dikshitar Aradhana. It is well 
known that Dikshitar in his Anandamrutha Karshini in raga Amruthavarshini 
appealed to Arnruteswari for instant rains (Varshaya, Varshaya) and brought 
copious rains to the rain-fed but rain-starved, black-cotton, flat terrain in and 
around Ettayapuram during his last journey. February is the beginning of 
summer when the Aradhana Festival is held. S. Rajam sang the Dikshitar song 
with devotion at 10 a.m. and was taken to Tirunelveli by the Collector for lunch. 
When he returned at about 4 p.m., lo! the pandal was not there and Ettayapuram 
stood soaked in torrential rains. The pandal had been blown off during the 
cyclonic rains at noon. Rajam merely invoked the grace of Dikshitar but the 
Rain-God took it as an invocation from Dikshitar himself and true to the spirit of 
the song came down to the delight of farmers and the dismay of organisers and 

Rajam's Raga Lakshana columns in magazine 'Sruti' is a distinct piece of 
comprehensive elucidation of individual ragas. 

The Actor: 

'Sita Kalyanam 1 was perhaps the third talkie in Tamil. Rajam (1 4) was the 
Prince Charming who took sister Jayalakshmi (12) as spouse in the film. The 
brother-sister team as Rama and Sita brought forth virulent criticism from 
orthodoxy: but at many places people went crazy and honoured the boy and the 
girl with coco and camphor offerings as if the Lord Himself had come down with 
his divine consort. Rajam - Jayaiakshmi were either too young to understand 
the protests or sang - 

"Oh Ramachandra ! Why should we feel any concern , when you hold in 
your hands the leading strings of all the dolls in the drama you conduct?" 
( Makelara Vicharamu- Ravichandrika) 


His second sister acted as Urmila. Advocate - Father Sundaram Ayyar was 
Janaka - probably fed up being a father at home! Veena Balachander, the child 
prodigy, performed on the kanjira in the Court of the great Ravana! 
G.K. Seshagiri Ayyar, music enthusiast was Ravana, 

The Artiste 

Rajarn's mother was the inspiration. Surgical supremo Dr. Rangachari's 
scholarship enabled Rajam to undergo the full course at the School of Arts, 
Madras. If Ravi Varma planted the figures of Goddesses Lakshmi and Saraswati 
in the minds of millions of Indians in the farthest corners of the globe, Rajam 
achieved a like success in the micro field of Carnatic music with his inimitable 
drawings of the Carnatic Trinity, if Musiri Subramania Ayyar, Madurai Man! 
Ayyar, T.N. Rajarathinam, S.G. Kittappa and K.B. Sundarambal had patented 
their memorable styles of rendition, Rajam has patented his portraits of the 
Trinity. On the integrity of his drawings, he says; 

'I got a photo of the picture of Tyagaraja available with the Tanjore Palace in 
1940, took a copy of the picture of Dikshitar from Veena Sundaram Ayyar of the 
line of disciples of Dikshitar and a copy of the picture of Sastri from his 
descendants. I took into account their individual characteristics and life-styles 
as reflected in their kritis and clarified to me by U.Rama Rao, TV. Subba Rao, 
K. Chandrasekharan and T.L Venkatarama Ayyar. I made some changes to 
answer to the genuine expectations of music- lovers and knowledgeable experts 
consistent with the genius of the great composers and provided them with a 
tambur or a veena. The drawings have stood the test of time.' Rajam is virtually 
Brahma II indeed ! Vide page 220 'A Garland' for other details. 


(b. July 15,1927) 

Bom at : Nachiarkoil near Kumbakonam 

of : Kanniah Pillai and Chellammal. 

Training : under his father along with his brother Duraikannu. 

Post held : Nagaswara Master at the Rajah's College of Music, 


He has appeared in the film 'Raja Bhakti' playing nagaswaram and has 
given discs. Shaik Chinna Moulana is his disciple. 

Titles & Honours: : Narada Gana 


Kalaimamani from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 

Mandram in 1 979, 

Concert tour : Sri Lanka 


Note: Month and year of birth are given as March 1 917 in 'Who's Who'. 

* * * 

D.S. RAJAPPA - MRIDANGIST: (b. April 29, 1924) 

Place of birth : Sudiyur near Paramakudi. 

Parents : Dorairaj & Lilli Ranjithammal. 

Claims heredity from the historic chieftains Peria Marudu and Chmna 
Marudu of Sivagangai Seemai. Has been taking part in dramatic troupes like 
Chitra Thevar's Boys' Dramatic Company. As his voice failed, he took to training 
in mridangam under the famous Kalaimamani C.S. Sankarasivam. After seven 
years' apprenticeship, he has been providing accompaniment at concerts and 
dramas. Is Asthana vidwan with Tirunelveli Madalaya. Was Secretary, Tamil 
Nadu Nataka Sangham. 

Titles ; Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 

Mandram (1974-75) 

Sukhanadhalayamani from Karnataka Isai Sangh (1984) 

D.S. Rajappa has been providing accompaniment and solo too for the All 
India Radio. 

3. RAJARAM - PERCUSSIONIST & PEDAGOGUE: (b.January 30, 1925) 

A grandson of the celebrated Mysore Vasudevacharya, Rajaram is Principal 
>f the prestigious College of Fine Arts, Kalakshetra founded by Rukmini Devi 
Krundale since 1 984. Rajaram started his career as Staff Artiste in the All India 
Radio for mridangam and jalatarangam and went up the ladder to become the 
)irector of Programmes ( Music) and Senior Station Director. Retired in 1983 
is Station Director, AIR, Hyderabad. 

He learnt music under his grandfather and mridangam under Vidwan Mysore 
). Seshappa. He takes special classes on the compositions of his grandfather 
3 students. He had assisted Vasudevacharya in composing music for the 
lamayana Dance- Drama choreographed and produced by Rukmini Devi. He 
las himself composed music for the four dance-dramas produced by 

Choodamani Pradanam, 
Bakta Jayadeva, 
Maha Pattabhishekarn and 
Kama Sabatham. 

The family trait of composing naturally has been inherited by him. A hundred 
ritis in Sanskrit and telugu have been got up by him. It is a feature of his life 


that he enjoys the good fortune of being born in an environment of music and 
live a life of elegance amidst sweet melody first with the All India Radio and now 
at the Kalakshetra! No wonder he is a soft- spoken gentleman - artiste. 


-.Many a flower is born to blush unseen, said Poet Gray. But he forgot the 
flowers which blush tantalizingly but vanish the next morn as the veil of the night 
is lifted. A tragedy - a Shakespearian tragedy it is. She was danseuse, 
jalatarangam player and vocalist. She was just eight years old and her dance 
was so enthralling and bewitching that the Rajah of Ramnad did 
kanakabhishekam to that prodigy! (Kanakabhishekam - symbolic shower of 
golden leaves is a rare event reserved for the most deserving alone.) In her 
ninth year, she left off dance and concentrated on music and like the delightful 
tropical sun, she was at the top and it was all glorious sunlight and no twilight. 
Stalwarts Simizhi Sundaram Ayyar and Subbier were her gurus and she had 
advanced training under Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar. The latter had such 
solicitude and appreciation for his ward's musical acumen and expositive 
wisdom that he himself provided kanjira support at one of her concerts in those 
days of male chauvinism! Her image, popularity and music were so spectacular 
and the demand for her concerts was so heavy, that normally there would be 
her vocal concert on the first day and her jalatarangam concert on the 
succeeding day usually. She was of a dignified type of musician and sang in 
four kalais in brika-laden and soul-charged voice. Her mesmerising artistic life 
lasted just a decade and a half and she died when she was at the apogee of her 
glory; and when she died, M.S. Subbulakshmi was just nine years and there was 
none to ascend the 'gadi' rendered vacant. The voice that could elevate the 
audience to climactic raptures came to be silenced so abruptly. 

T. Sankaran confirms the popularity and the gargantuan image of Rajayee 

11 The tiny Tiruvarur Rajayee scored everything because of her sweet 
tone (kokilagana?). She was a soft-voiced crony. But in popularity, we 
may call her the 'M.S. 1 of her times. At the age of eight or nine, she was 
the recipient of Kanakabhishekam! Later N.C. Vasantakokilam shot 
into fame with her dulcet voice and cinema background. " 

Venkatarama Ayyar and Dhanyan have all spoken of her in superlative 
terms. It is unfortunate that the jewel and gem was lost while so tender. Art ! 
How immense is thy composure to bear such tragedies and how verdant virility 
is thine that you bring forth successive crops of genius. 



The fertility of the soil, the interminable expanse of evergreen fields and 
gardens forming as it were a green carpet of immense dimensions, the divine 
calm that pervades and the location of the village close to the mother of a rich 
civilisation, River Cauvery enabled the innate genius of the people to pursue 
spiritual and artistic ways of life. Far from the madding crowds, their sober 
wishes never strayed. J. R.D.Tata once said, 

'When f went into business in 1925, there was no corruption for the simple reason 
that there was nobody to corrupt and there was nobody to ask.' 

Even so, the village of Sri Tapastirthapura, also called Bhairavi Vana, shed its 
radiant rays of culture and revelled in noble pursuits and artistic advents. 
Lalgudi, its present name, was probably derived from the red tower of the temple. 
tn tune with its puranic heritage, the deity in the temple is called Saptarishiswara. 

Lalgudi Rama Ayyar, son of Srinivasa Ayyar exhibited musical potential and 
was sent for a ten-year gurukulavasa in the Swayambu - that which came on 
its own - University of the most popular of the Trinity, Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru. 
On completion, he was doing bhajans at Lalgudi since the fundamental goal of 
music then was devotional. When Tyagarajah was at Srirangam, Rama Ayyar 
invited him to his place, a Siva kshetra. The sage-composer, as he did in respect 
of another disciple, Tiruvottiyur Veena Kuppa Ayyar, responded and was with 
Rama Ayyar at Lalgudi for some days. Inspired by the darshan of the Lord and 
enthralled by the beauty of the temple and the serene environment, Tyagaraja 
gave vent to his feelings in five songs now called the 'Lalgudi Pancharatnam'. 
Later Rama Ayyar went to Mysore on the invitation of Mummadi Krishna Raja 
Wodeyar, the celebrated patron of arts and artistes. He became Asthana Vidwan 
and earned the honorific 'Pallavi Rama Ayyar'. Valadi Radhakrishna Ayyar and 
Guruswami Ayyar, his sons were musicians. 

The good musician's first son Guruswami Ayyar was a good vocalist and 

ghatam artiste, the second son was Radhakrishnayyar and the third, 

Rangaswami was a pupil of AudanurSubbayya of Srirangam, a vocalist, violinist 

-and swarabat player besides being a composer of varnarns and kritis, according 

to T.C.A. Chinna Singaracharyulu. 

CHIKKA RAMA RAO - VOCALIST: (1 892 - 1 946) 

Place of birth : Kurudi (Shimoga) 

Name of father : Subba Rac, a Police Offcial. 

Musical training under ; Sangeetha Vidya Kanteerava Karigiri Rao and 

Bakshi Subbanna. 


Karigiri Rao had many students bearing the same name of Rama Rao and 
so he called this disciple 'Chikka' and it stuck to his name to the last. Rama Rao 
enjoyed a sweet voice and was an asset to his guru, Bakshi Subbanna, who 
told Veena Seshanna - 

1 Seshanna you may think that you are great because of your nimble fingers dancing on 
the frets of the veena. Please note that I am a grade higher than you as ! have the 
sweet voice of Chikka in addition.' 

Ettayapuram Ramachandra Bhagavatar too should have thought so when 
Pushpavanam joined as a pupil. Even as a boy, Rama Rao had a heavy 
repertoire of devarnamas. The sweet voice evoked sympathetic response from 
the Dawager Maharani who got him appointed as a Court Vidwan and he was 
later placed in the Palace Orchestra. Got tuitions in Western music and 
jalatarangam. Eminent artistes like Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar and Pudukottai 
Dakshinamoorti Pillai had high praise for his music. Patnam Subramania Ayyar 
too had taught him kritis. Apart from his matchless voice, Rao was a laya 
expert too. 

Disciples : A. Subba Rao, Arakere Narayana Rao, B.V.K. Sastri, 

Compositions : swarajatis, varnams and kritis. 

Titles & Honours : Sangita Ratna - Maharajah of Mysore in 1938. 

Gayanacharya - Sri Rama Bhajan Sabha, Malleswaram. 

His keen insight as a teacher is reflected in the following anecdote: 

A. Subba Rao was practising the Saramati piece Mokshamu Galada. He 
was elaborating the phrase Vina Vadhana Loludow. Rama Rao remarked 
'Bhale' twice and the pupil enquired whether his rendition was defective. Said 
Rama Rao, You have failed to produce the Veena Vadhana quality in your 
voice. Devote time to voice culture'. Such was his implicit faith not only in the 
quality of the rendition but his insistence to bring out the ethos of the text, 


Mridangam was no stranger to his family. Grandfather Krishna Ayyar and 
father Sami Ayyar - both of Mylattur - were mridanga vidwans. At the age of 
nine, Mylattur Ramachandran, who had his training under his father, had played 
for Palladam Sanjeeva Rao, the renowned flautist at the Tyagaraja Aradhana, 
Tiruvaiyaru. In 1940, he accompanied Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar on the 
AH India Radio in his first programme on the air. For over five decades he has 
been giving accompaniment to most of the prominent musicians. Ramachandran 
has a special word of gratitude for Chembai and Chowdiah for the interest taken 
by them in his case. He had accompanied Chowdiah for many of his disc 


recordings. Has participated in National Programmes and Sangeeth 
Sammelans many times. 

He served as Staff Artiste in All India Radio during 1 965-1 985 at Pondicherry 
and for sometime earlier at Delhi too. 

Title ; ' Mridanga Medai ' by Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. 

Publication : ' Mridanga Pada Murai '. 

Mylattur is near Palghat. Ramachandran's father-guru Sami Ayyar was 
teacher in mridangam in the Annamalai University and was a 'Kalaimamani' 
title-holder. S. Ramachandran regrets that the title is yet to be given to him. 
Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram may consider. 


Ramachandra Rao's father, Sangita Ratna Venkata Rao (1 875-1 969) was a 
famous musician. Ramachandra Rao was born at Honasannahalli in 
Gowribidanur taluk of Kolar district. He had his training in music under his uncle 
Vidwan Venkatachala Ayya, Bhaskara Rao and Venkata Dasappa. He 
underwent a course in music at the Annamalai University. He enhanced his 
musical talents by having special training with Karur Ramaswamy, Pakka 
Hanumantachar, Pallavi Seshayya and Hangel Chidambara Ayyar. Rao has 
been giving concerts from his boyhood. Dr. Sampathkumaracharya hails him 
as a Maha Vidwan, popular and famous and says that people would sit 
enchanted at his concerts. Has been honoured by Mysore and other Courts. 
Enjoyed a pleasing 'uttama' sareeram (voice); an expert in rendition of pallavi. 
Noted for clarity of rendition. 

Title and Honours : Sangita Ratna by Mysore Palace 

Mysore State Sangita Academy Award 


Son and disciple of Chikka Munuswamiappa, a nagaswara vidwan, 
Ramadasappa made his debut at the age of ten accompanying his father and 
soon rose in stature to the top. The Academy of Music, Bangalore, while 
conferring the State Level Chowdiah Memorial Award on him stated: 

1 His fidelity in the rendition of popular compositions in the Carnatic genre has won him 
admirers... a competent concert artiste. He has figured in the programmes of every 
sabha in the State.. .his nagaswara heralds the inauguration of many a music festival. 1 

Honours & Titles: Gana Kalanidhi and Asthana Vidwan, by 

H.H.Sankaracharya, Sringeri Mutt. 


Nagaswara Mani from H.H. the Sankaracharya 
of the Kanchi Mutt 

Rajyotsava Award, 1990. 

Chowdlah Memorial (State Level) Award 1 992. 

For his nagaswara concerts, he has been using violin and mridangarn for 
accompaniment presumably drawing inspiration from T.N.Rajarathinam. , 


Son of Subba Rao and Lakshmi Bai, Ramadoss Rao learnt mridangarn under 
Tanjore Balu Rao. Initially he was playing for musical discourses and later for 
all artistes. Was Professor of Mridangam, College of Music, Annamalai 
University. The Music Academy, Madras honoured him with a Certificate of Merit 
in 1959. Rao enjoyed a wide practice in concerts. 

Once Kanchipuram Naina Pillai with Konnakol Mannargudi Pakkiria Pillai 
.attended a festival at Mannargudi where Tirupazhanam Panchapakesa Sastri 
was giving a musical discourse. Naina Pillai was delighted to hear the 
mridangam play of Ramadoss Rao and wanted to engage Rao for his concerts. 
Rao felt diffident and unnoticed left for Tanjore. One year later, Naina Pillai and 
Pudukottai Dakshinamurti Pillai went over to Tanjore and presseld him to play 
for Naina Pillai's concerts, which he reluctantly accepted. Dakshinamurti Pillai 
later described that combination thus : 

' Taunting swaras from the masculine voice of Naina to the sweet accompaniment of 
Rao's mridangam which always sprinkles rose water!' 

Rao got into the regiment, the full bench, the magistrate's court as Pillai's 
concerts were variously called. B.M. Sundaram states that for sixty-three Pillai's 
concerts, Ramadoss Rao had provided mridangam accompaniment, A 'Kapil 
Dev' achievement indeed for those distant times when opportunity was scarce. 
(Number 63, incidentally, represents the strength of Saivite Apostles 
(Nayanmars) . 


The Journals of the Music Academy bear extensive proof of the vast 
erudition, meaningful research and sustained pursuit and efforts in the cause 
of Classical music of Dr. T.S. Ramakrishnan, son of Srinivasamurti. He had his 
training in vocal and veena under his father. His remote ancestors are stated 
to have lived in Mysore and Poona and secured the surname of 'Sarasval'. Has 
served in Sri Lanka and in the Corporation of Madras till 1975. 


From some of the papers read by him at the Academy, it is seen that the 
eminent Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar had kept a notebook 
containing a record of 72 melas and 1 758 janya ragas with the arohana and the 
avarohana of each, besides 30 varnas (19 of them rare) and 16 tamil padas of 
Mazhavai Chidambara Bharati and that 'Sangita Kaumudi" of Tiruvaiyaru 
Subramania Ayyar too contains a similar list of janya ragas. T.S. Ramakrishnan 
has pointed out that Nathamuni Pandithar's 'Sangita Swara Prastara Sagaram' 
contains 2014 janya ragas and pleaded for an inventory of all the janya ragas 
giving the melas, etc. Some janya ragas come under more than one mela raga. 
There are already a few such digests as desired by him. Vide Part III. The 
proposal is worth attention. 

* * * 

VOCALIST MAESTRO: (December 15, 1883 -) 

' A brilliant singer, a creative artiste of high degree and a person with an extensive and 
varied repertoire. A lakshana lakshya vidwan. Unassuming, good natured, he has set 
a noble example of an ideal musician.' 

Prof. P. Sambamurty (1949). 

Manambuchavadi Venkatasubba Ayyar, a cousin and disciple of Tyagaraja 
trained a galaxy of disciples including the 'Five Gems'. Susarla Dakshinamurti 
Sastri of Pedakallepalli, one of the disciples returned to Andhra Pradesh and 
Parupalli Ramakrishnayya was his distinguished disciple. 

Ramakrishnayya was born at Srikakulam, of Seshachalam Pantulu and 
Mangamrna in a family of erudition with devotional background. In accordance 
with tradition, Seshachalam renounced the world and assumed the name 
Pradyumnananda Saraswati. In 1896, Ramakrishnayya was sent to 
Pedakallepalli to learn accountancy and management of Thana affairs. Music 
lured his attention and in 1 898 he started his musical lessons. He overshadowed 
his co-pupils who were many. In 1902 he took up the post of village karnam 
(accountant) of Telugurayanipalem. In 1906, his deputy collector (superior in 
office and appointing authority), Baktavatsalam Naidu became his disciple in 
music - to pay his respects as a disciple while learning and extract them back 
as official boss! After sometime, Ramakrishnayya returned to his guru and 
blossomed into an expert in veena and violin. 

He made constant visits to the cultural centres of the South and by 
observation and contacts, imbibed the features and styles of stalwarts like 
Ramanathapuram Srinivasa Ayyangar, Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar, 
Pushpavanam and Palghat Anantarama Bhagavatar. His contacts with musical 
discoursers Mangudi Chidambara Bhagavatar and Panchapakesa Bhagavatar 
and instrumentalists like Tirukodikaval Krishna Avvar and rt 


Attended the All India Music Conference at Baroda in 1 91 6 and came back with 
flying colours. Made his entry into Madras at Gokhale Hall with Chowdiah, 
Azhaganambi Pillai and Madras Velayudham Pillai as accompanists in the 
presence of the elite of Madras on November 27, 1921. Prof. D.V. Krishnaiah 

1 This was the climax of the test of the country to crown this leader of music movement 
with the highest glory that fell to the lot of any artiste in this forsaken land of carping 
critics. ' 

Ramakrishnayya was riding the crest of success since then and the All India 
Music Conference, Madras in 1927 honoured him. He was in the midst of all 
high musical activity. He was Chairman of the Reception Committee of the 
Fourth Gayaka Mahasabha. The Andhra Research University, Vizianagaram 
gave him the title of 'Bharati Tirthopadhyaya'. The Andhra Saraswat Parishad 
declared him 'Gayaka Sarvabhouma' in 1931 thus making him the uncrowned 
king of the world of classical music. 

Pantulu was on the Experts Committee of the Music Academy, Madras and 
the Tyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha of Tiruvaiyaru and was Examiner, Andhra 

Ramakrishnayya enjoyed a grand personality, a bold and melodious voice 
and his rendition was appealing and captivating. His guru-poojas were music 
festivals, grand in conception and cultured in execution and the public 
responded well to his wishes by the construction of a music hall, starting a music 
school and consecration of a Tyagarajah idol. Andhra had, perhaps, the first 
taste of a Maha Vidwan in him and basked in the salubrious sunshine of 
Pantulu's musical eminence, 


(October 5,1823 - January 30, 1874) 

An Apostle of Universal Religion of Peace, Truth and Morality (Samarasa 
Suddha Satya Sanmarga), a mystic and siddha purusha, the Angel of Grace, 
Compassion and Solicitude made his last journey from the mundane world in 
the most unique manner quite in accord with his life and mission. Hiranya 
obtained various boons to avoid death and ultimately all was in vain, Ramaiinga 
Swamigal, popularly known as 'Vallalar', is the beacon who demonstrated to 
the world how deathlessness is feasible. His body was consigned neither to the 
earth nor to flames. His individual soul (Jeevatma) merged and dissolved itself 
in the Universal Soul, the Paramatma. To set the happening on firm record and 
free from doubts, two European officers of the Government verified the total 
absence of any mortal remains in the cottage wherefrom he commenced his 


celestial journey! He entered the Eternal Abode of Light and merged in the Light 
Divine (Arut Perum Jothi). The Flame kindled at Vadalur burns perpetually for 
the salvation of Humanity. (Such a light is said to burn at Shirdi of Sai Baba 
also. Vailalar's departure is reminiscent of Manickavachakar's at Chidambaram 
close to Vadalur itself.) The immortality of Vallalar is strictly in conformity with 
the scriptures. 

I Na cha punaravarthathe 
Na cha punaravarthathe. ' 

(He does not return; 

he does not return.) SRUTI. 

II Mam upetya tu Kaunteya 
Punarjanma na vidyate . " 

(Attaining Me, there is no rebirth.) GITA Vlil-16. 

' Gacchanty apunara vrittim 
Jnananirdhuhtakalmashah. ' 

(Their sins being completely shaken off by 

Wisdom, they go whence there is no return.) - GITA V-1 7. 

Ramaiinga Swamigal was no abstract, austere yogi who buried himself in 
snow-clad mountains or heavily wooded forests. He was an organiser non 
pare/7. He established the Samarasa Veda Sanmarga Sangham in 1865. The 
Abode of Siddhi (Immortality) and the Jyoti are for public good and open to all. 
The second is the Satya Veda Dharmasala, a free kitchen open to the public to 
quench their biological hunger with a view to prepare them for spiritual hunger 
and mission, spiritual enquiry (Vichara) and reach the Eternal Abode, even as 
Upanishad Brahman did at Kanchipuram and declared its avowed purpose in 
clear terms - Vide 'A Garland'. The kitchen was started in 1 867. Siddhi Valagam 
(1870) and Satya Jnana Sabha (1872) are the other two founded by him. The 
range and objectives of the institutions started by Vallalar reveal his depth of 
vision and the missionary zeal which marked his organising endeavours. 

Born at Marudur near Chidambaram, of Ramayya Pillai and Chinna 
Arnmayar, he went early to Ponneri and then to Muthialpet (Madras) and grew 
up under the care of his eldest brother, Sabhapathy. He lived at Karunguzhi 
(1858-1867), Vadalur (1867-1870) and Mettukuppam thereafter. Tirugnana 
Sambandar was his Jnana Guru by adoption and Tiruvachakam, his bible. He 
was a devotee of Lord Muruga. Having realised God Vision at the very tender 
age of nine, Vallalar was intoxicated with spiritual and moral ideals and goals 
and imbuad with a missionary zeal. A specimen of his unbounded compassion, 
love and solicitude and the panorama of his vision is here: 

1 Every time I saw crops withering, I withered top; as often 
As I saw hungry destitute beggers, Ptoo fainted with hunger; 


And the defeat of the meritorious 
Has made me wilt in pain. 

My life must cease when my com passion dies.' 

Eight years after the Siddhi of Valialar, Subramania Bharati was to be born 
to declare again that the crow and the sparrow belonged to his caste and the 
sea and the mountain constituted his crowd! Vallalar's crusade (1865 - 1874) 
for spiritual and moral force was in another sphere carried on during the same 
period by Gopala Krishna Bharati with his 'Nandanar' (1861), a revolutionary, 
epoc-making tamil opera in the cause of removal of untouchability and sociaJ 
degradation. The beauty and grace in the lives of these great men lie in that 
they followed and practised what they preached and suffered for their ideals. 

If the Soul of India shines bright still and commands respect in the Comity 
of Nations, it is only because such venerable souls had trod this land, had chosen 
this land for their brief tenancies. What is Bharath without its sages, poets, etc? 
No wonder Subramania Bharati thundered to emphasise this truth and warn his 
countrymen - 

'You are a son of Bharath; 
Erase that thought not ! ' 

Prof. K.R. Srinivasa Ayyangar beautifully sums up the life of Valialar thus: 

" Ramalinga and Gandhiji are surely among the supreme benefactors of humanity - 
Vallalars - angels and ministers of grace... Like Ramakrishna Paramahamsa in Bengal, 
like Dayananda Saraswati in Western India, Ramalinga Swami in Tamil Nadu was also 
a prophet of the dawn of Renascent India... They were the potent power-houses of 
resurgence.. He saw that the mystic vision of 'Arut Perum Jyotl, was allied to th 
complementary power of 'Than! Perum Karunai' (Unique Sovereign Compassion). " 

Vallalar's songs are called ThiruArutpa (Golden Book of Grace), They we re 
published first in 1867 itself. The spiritual grace of Valialar was supported by 
Ills organisational and managerial wisdom, efficiency and capability. That is the 
beauty, the unique flavour of his life and his mission. Arumugha Navalar and 
others were opposed to his ideals and there was litigation. In the Court, when 
Adigalar entered, the plaintiff Navalar stood up to show his respect and the 
Judge remarked how such respect and reverence could go together with the 
contentions in the suit plaint. The suit failed, Six books with six thousand songs 
appeared . Sri Ooran Adigal of Vadalur has done yeoman service to publicise 
the works of Adigalar. (The author had the blessings of Adigalar to participate 
in one of the annual festival-based conferences at Vadalur and also propose, as 
District Collector, the issue of a Commemoration stamp by the Government of 
India.) The entire literary output of Valialar has been published in three volumes 
toy the Ramalingar Pani Mandram with the munificence of the philanthropic 
industrialist Dr. N. Mahalingam, who heads it. T.S. Parthasarathy wrote in the 


' Arutpa is a shining monument of Valiaiar's religious devotion, spiritual insight and 
poetical skill, uttered out of pure imagination, yet fully satisfying the rules of prosody. 
Realising that poetry set to music had a greater appeal, the Swami himself wrote musical 
compositions like kirtanas, chindus and kummis in popular ragas. During the early 
decades of this century, eminent singers like Tiruchendur Shannhughavadivu recorded 
verses from Thiru Arutpa on gramaphone discs. Later renowned stage actors like 
S.G. Kittappa and KB. Sundarambal sang them in their dramas to great effect Tiruvadi 
Pugazhcchi was set to music by T.M. Theagarajan and recorded as a cassette by Dr. 
M, Prarneela. ' 

Vallalar's Publications : Ozhivilodukkam 1851 

Thondamandala Sadakam 1 855 

Chinmaya Dipikai 1 857 

Vallalar's Journal ; Sanmarga Viveka Vruddi. 

Works authored : Manumuraikanda Vachakam 

Jeeva Karunya Ozhukkam 
Thiru Arutpa 

Prime tenets preached by Vallalar : 

God is one. 

Animal Sacrifice is not in conformity with religion. 

Meat-eating should be avoided. 

Race and Caste distinctions should not exist 

Religious rites are not necessary. 

Poor should be helped; Compassion is of prime relevance, 

RamalingaSwamigal was a preacher, thinker, poet, composer, author, editor, 
publisher, journalist, jnani, doctor, social reformer, organiser and saint all in one. 
Worshipped as a Saint, he lived for the religious, spiritual, social and moral 
resurgence of the people. A great yogi of immense humanism and vision, he 
has left a deep impression in the conduct and character of the people of Tamil 
Nadu who follow his tenets. All efforts should be made to take the message and 
songs of Swamigal to the youth of the country. 

R.A. RAMAMANI - VOCALIST; (20th Cent.) 

!t is to the credit of Ramamani that classical Carnatic music had been 
introduced to the beat of jazz percussion and jazz band. (Many may have no 
idea of its effect and impact -adverse or otherwise and proximate and ultimate 
- on classicism.) She had her musical training under S. Ramachandra Rao, 
Seshagiri Achar and Anoor Ramakrishnan and had taken her Master's Degree 
in Classical music from the Bangalore University, ^he performs Avadhana 
Pallavi - maintaining two tala measures simultaneously. Is Lecturer, Karnatic 
College of Percussion, Bangalore and has participated in international festivals 
in Europe, Canada, etc. 



(b. Deer. 4, 1933) 

Born atTanjore, of S.K. Gopala Bhagavatar and Alarmeimangai, Ramamurti 
Bhagavathar belongs to the Krishna Bhagavatar line of musical discourse 
artistes. Had his training under the distinguished Harikatha Praveena 
Annaswami Bhagavatar. Has been training many through an institution called 
'Aranert Siruvar Kuzhu'. 

Titles & Honours : Harikatha Bhushanam 

Harikatha Siromani 
Harikatha Kalabhushan 
Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu 
Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1980. 


In 1876, Ramanna became a teacher in a primary school. He was proficient 
and competent on violin. He was blessed with a good voice too. Besides his 
mastery in music, he was a good literatteur in Sanskrit and kannada. He was a 
violinist and a musical discourser and had been applauded by Maharajah 
Chamaraja Wodeyar who was a connoisseur non pare/7. Ramanna had 
composed devaranamas and songs in hundreds in rare and popular ragas under 
the signature Trinapureesa', etc. Was a good painter also. 

Among his disciples were his son Venkataramiah, musical discourser, 
Venkatasubba Panditha, violinist and Kumara Avadhya, vocalist, One of his 
javalis is set in marching tune inviting the lover (Nayaka) to come near. 
B.V.K. Sastri and Chennakesaviah pay tributes to Ramanna's musical expertise. 
Hullahalli is near Nanjangud in Karnataka. 


Ramayya came out of a garden of artistes, father Subbanna and grandfather 
Anantappa being tabla players and brothers M.S. Subramaniarn and 
Chinnaswamy being violinists. He underwent training - 

in tabla : under his father 

in mridangam : under Muthuswami Devar and Ventatesha Devar, 

besides advanced under Puttachar and Srinivasalu Naidu ; 


in tabla for Hindustani under Jan Saheb and 

music ; 

in vocal music : under B. Devendrappah. 

His multi-sided training both in vocal and in percussion enabled him to play 


a prominent part in Karnataka and few prominent musicians are there for whom 
he has not provided accompaniment. 'His vocal trainng combined with his 
orientation in laya made him a complete and competent laya exponent with soft 
and deft strokes.' 

Was Staff Artiste, All India Radio. 

Honours and titles: 

Karnataka Kala Tilaka 

Mridanga Kala Shiromani 

Sangita Kala Ratna by Gayana Samaja, Bangalore (1991) 


(b. July 19,1926) 

Son of Muthu Bhagavatar and Balambal and born at Tanjore, he had his 
training under his father. Had given extensive musical discourses in India and 
abroad and his discourse on the 'Four Prime Tamil Saints' is in discs also. 

Titles & Honours: Navarasa Vak Amirdha Bhushanam 

Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka 
Mandram in 1979. 

Concert tours: Sri Lanka and South Africa. 


Parents : Natesa Pillai and Mangammal 

Born in a musical family, he had his training in tavil under the maestro 
Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai and took to mridangam later 
adopting the style of Palani Subramania Pillai. Has given accompaniment to 
prominent musicians and has been honoured with the titles Thannumai 
Pulavar' and 'Kalaimamani' by the Tondaimandalam Adheenam and the Tamil 
Nadu Sangeetha Nataka Sangham respectively. 

* * * 

KJ3. RAMASWAMY - VOCALIST : (b.August 7, 1 948) 

Place of birth : Shimoga in Karnataka 

Parents : Kuskoor Gurumurti Sastri and Nagamma 

Ramaswamy's grandfather Kuskoor Krishna Avadhani was devoted to 
bhajans and father Gurumurti Sastri had musical training with Vidwan Rama Jois 
of Shimoga. Ramaswamy had his preliminaries in music with his father and 
higher studies with Vidwan V. Srinivasan of Kerala. Made his debut in 1964 at 
Shimoga. Passed the Proficiency Examination in 1975. He has been giving 
concerts on the Doordarshan, All India Radio and outside and is the only 'A' 


grade vocalist of the AH India Radio, Bhadravati. 

K.G. Ramaswamy, a B.Com, is an Internal Auditor in Viswesvarayya Iron and 
Steel Ltd., Bhadravati. He was awarded the 'Best Musician 1 distinction fcy the 
Bangalore Gayana Samaja, Bangalore in 1 985. 

* * * 


(b. Decr.28, 1927) 

Place of birth : Tirunelveli district (though she halls from Madura! district) 

Name of father : Post-master Ayyangar - the popular name having stuok 

to him. 

Ranganayaki Ayyangar had the precious blessings of gurukuia with 
Namakkal Sesha Ayyanger during 1947-1955 and with Mudicond^an 
Venkatarama Ayyar till 1 960. Securing a solid foundation in music under th & two 
stalwarts over a period of fourteen years, she was giving concerts during 
1947-1967 subsequently in different spells over All India Radio and outride, 
besides overseas concerts in USA, Holland and Japan. Research and teaohing 
later claimed her attention so fully that she could find little scope for conoorts. 
Musicology is her forte, teaching is her second field of specialisation, her rich 
training and a two-decade long performing career enabling her to make her 
grade. Her academic background has equally been solid : 

1965: University of Hawaii Honolulu - MA (Ethnomusicolocjy) 

1 972: University of Pennsylvania - M. A, (Musicology) 

1980: University of Pennsylvania - Ph.D. (Musicology) 

To pursue her chosen fields of expertise and specialisation, she had the 
benefit of 

1 957-60: Government Scholarship in Carnatic music. 

1 962-64: East-West Grant for Cultural Exchange, University of Hawaii. 

1 967-68: Fellowship, University of Pennsylvania. 

1 968-70: Teaching Fellowship with same University. 

1 970-71 : Penfield Research Scholarship & Travel Grant of the same University. 

1 971 -72: Dissertation Year Fellowship - Same University. 

Ranganayaki Ayyangar has been participating in Conferences, Seminars 
and Colloquia presenting lecdems, etc., on such diverse subjects and fora 

Somanatha's Rudra Vina - Music Academy, Madras. 

Musicology & its implications - Benares University, 

Music in Higher Education - M.S. University of Baroda. 

Performing Arts of India -SIBMAS, Barcelona. 
Standardization of Technical 

Terminology in Hindustani 

Music - Benares University. 

Ornamentations - Wesleyan University. 

Alwars and Music - M.S. University, Baroda. 


History of Oral Tradition in 

Camatic music - ICTM Colloquium. 

Music & Multimedia - Case 

Studies - UNESCO Workshop, New Delhi. 

Posts held: 

Lecturer / Teaching Fellow / 
Visiting Professor; 

College of Fine Arts, Mysore/ 
Pennsylvania University / 
University of Illinois / Swarthmore and 
Dartmouth Colleges. 

Reader / Head of Department -\ 

of Musicology and Professor - / Benares Hindu University. 

Presently, Ranganayaki Ayyangar is Director of the research-oriented 
institution 'Sampradaya' and is a Member, Standing Committee, Indira Gandhi 
National Centre for Arts, New Delhi. 


(February 2, 1901 - May 20, 1980) 

Place of birth ; Serangulam, Mannargudi, Tanjore district. 

Parents : Raghunathaswami Ayyangar and Janaki Ammal 

Graduated from : Findlay College, Mannargudi ( in Arts and Teaching). 

Rangaramanuja Ayyangar was a multi-faceted genius, teacher, vainika, 
vocalist, author, promoter of music and researcher. He could play on violin, 
kanjira and jalatarang. A pioneer evangelist dedicated to the resuscitation of 
values in art, more particularly in Carnatic music to which he was passionately 
devoted from beginning to his end, Ayyangar's multi-sided activities included 
propagation, publicity and giving lecturers in and outside India on a vast scale. 
He was a sincere admirer of Veena Dhanammal and when she stood deserted 
in her old age by kith and kin, he was steadfast in his attachment to her and her 
art. He was one of the key figures in running the Jagannatha Baktha Sabha, 
Madras which presented classical concerts in the thirties to the cognoscenti. A 
firm believer in Sampradaya (Traditional) music, he had close contacts with the 
stalwarts ^ of raga and laya. He was one of the few who was intimately 
knowledgeable afaput percussionists of the day - which actually saw the finest 
ensemble of mridangists, tavilkars, kanjira, ghatam and konnakol artistes in a 
measure not witnessed earlier or later. A musicologist par excellence, Ayyangar 
had authored many books and was the first - 

to publish the largest number of the songs of Purandara Dasa, 

to publish an elaborate scheme of clear scientific notation to express gamakas and 
subtle nuances; 

to carry classical repdition on veena to the Far East, Sri Lanka and the United States 



to publish a very large number of songs well edited, 


His varied publications reveal his vast learning and keen dedication to th 
fine art and the books are in addition to his numerous learned lectures an 

instructive demonstrations in universities and elsewhere. 

Keertanamalai 1934 

Kritimanimalai covering an impressive number of 1470 1 947 / 1 957 

' compositions of the Trinity besides padams, javalis, etc, 

An encyclopaedic anthology of songs garnered from various sources, 
Gita Govindam 1959 

Pallavi Tradition (contains 25 paliavis) 

History of South Indian (Carnatic) Music 1 972 

(Contains valuable information on the systems, its stalwart votaries, etc,) 
Sangita Ratnakara of Sarngadeva, 
Musings of a Musician 

One may guage his intense passion for the music of the golden age - tto 
period of the closing years of the 1 9th and the early decades of the 20th centun 
from his various observations such as - 

" ...the handful of talented musicians who crossed into the 20th century were confronts 
by a new situation,.. The advent of careensm and comrnercial-mindedness threw the ok 

genertion of musicians into confusion and disarray. Traditional training involving year? 
of hard work and rigorous discipline became superfluous. The old veterans droppec 
one by one unable to do anything to transmit their knowledge and experience, Thus 
the links with an expansive glorious past snapped, ,, With swelling numbers and com- 
petition, disinterested pursuit of art has scotched by the struggle for survival, " 

He had taught for thirty-seven years at the M.Ct. Muthiah Chettiar Hi' 

School, Purasawakkam, Madras till 1959 and had a brief spell as proof-reader 
in the 'Hindu' Madras. Music had a magic lure for him from the beginning; 
Rajagopala Dikshitar's lay (lakshya) music, Mannargudi Chinna Pakkiri's 
nagaswara play and Simizhi Sundaram Ayyar's virgin classicism inspired him, 
Dhanammal during 1926-38 was an ail-absorbing enlightening force which 
shaped him into a crusader for classicism, pure and noble, He was simple and 
broad-minded and was a nationalist. His teaching methods were unique in 
approach and effect. 


(b. March 21,1893-) 

Son of Krishna Ayyangar, Rangu Ayyangar was born in a family of Sanskrit 
and music experts and at the age of thirteen started his training under 
Jagannatha Bhagavatar of Kumbakonam and Rangaswami Ayyangar of 
Puducheri, He had accompanied top artistes and was popular for his smooth 


play on mridangam. The Music Academy, Madras awarded a Certificate of Merit 
to him in 1958. 


(b. February 12, 1967) 

Classical Carnatic music was the staple of the family, Grandfather 
Narayana Ayyangar of Mysore was a renowned gottuvadyam player. Father 
Narasimhan is an artiste too. No wonder the combined, cumulative musical 
expertise and wisdom have expressed themselves in Ravi Kiran, acclaimed as 
a rebirth of his grandfather. Music has gone very deep into Ravi Kiran right from 
childhood. His raga alapana, kriti rendition and swara essays are deep, 
expositive and soulful. There is a steady and confident flow of classical melody 
at his concerts born of sure approach, certain grasp, planned thoughts and 
robust innovative application. The unruffled stately manner in which he 
proceeds is a tribute to his mastery and mature musicianship. One could see 
him conversing with his chitra veena even as Madura! Mani would do with the 
tambura and Balachander with his veena. One could notice a contemplative 
philosophic look in his face when he performs indicating mature and total 
dedication to the finer nuances and graces of music. His rendition is along the 
'Raja marga' of meditative classicism and never treads the bylanes of 
neoclassicism. His raga essays are thoughtful and elaborate and kriti rendition 
and swara explorations crisp. 

His advent and graduation in the musical world is as old as his second year. 
He took the world by storm by exhibiting his precocious phenomenon with his 
ability to identify and demonstrate more than 325 ragas and 175 talas besides 
standing up to a quiz session on the theory of Carnatic music. Here is an 
authentic account from the Journal of the Music Academy (XLI) ; 

"Child Music Prodigy" 

'Ravikiran, 2Va years old, appeared before the members of the Experts' 
Commitee of the Music Academy. A very large gathering of people had 
thronged to witness... The child could recognise 72 melakartas, their 1 2 chakras, 
anaka and janya ragas, different kinds of ragas - sampurna, shadava, etc., 
Drakriti and vikriti swaras, the ten kinds of gamakas, talas and their jatis . . . 
different parts of composition... ' 

He was put to a test also and the child came out with flying honours. What was 
:he result? 

The Music Academy proposed to give a monthly stipend of Rs. Fifty for three 
fears for the proper upbringing of the child... The child would attend the coming 
conferences of the Academy... ' 

So, the child sat with other Experts aged fifty, sixty and seventy!! And sat 


uly accredited!!! It is a historic event in the annals of Carnatic music and the 
ccreditation had been done by the highest reputed body competent to do it. It 
ould appear that the grace of Saint Gnanasambandar had descended on the 
hsld! The Press found itself landed in a drought of expletives and adjectives. 
raise poured in from all directions. Here are some : 

" If you don't believe in God, look at Ravi Kiran." Pandit Ravishankar ( 1 969 - 70) 

11 With mikes a!! around him and his hands full of biscuits ... all the time playing , the 
child gave out correct answers.' The Journal of the Music Academy 1 969 - 70 

11 His recital, sans violin, sans percussion, stood aloft like a beacon for the storm - battered 
music world." Indian Express. 

" To listen to his music is an education in Carnatic Classificism." The Hindu. 

Pandit Ravishankar's remark of 1969-70 was the echo of what was said at 
erlin on April 12, 1929 by the great mathematical physicist famous for the 
heory of Relativity. Yehudi Menuhin was thirteen. At the concert, his violin - 
lay was remarkable. The sounds were as pure as gold, inspired by an angelic 
aturalness of phrasing and musicality and without a trace of childishness/ 
hen Albert Einstein remarked : 

"Now I know that there is a God in Heaven." 

he only difference was that Menuhin was then about 13 while Ravi Kiran was 
Dunger by ten years. 

The progress thenceforth was equally impressive. He gave his first vocal 
Dncert at Bangalore while yet a boy of five. Next year, he gave his first 
erformance on gottuvadyam at the Brahma Gana Sabha. Pleased at the 
rtistry, maturity and technical elegance displayed by Kiran, Semmangudi Dr. 
rinivasa Ayyar presented the plectrum used once by his guru, Sakharama Rao, 
ho, incidentally, was preceptor to Kiran's grandfather too. In 1 980 the Music 
cademy selected him as the best Junior and in 1981, it awarded him the 
hanmughavadivu Memorial Prize. His concert career could be taken as 
jgularly commenced from the age of twelve, when the All India Radio accepted 
im as an artiste and placed him in the very next year itself in 'A Grade. He 
as on television in 1 980. His dedication and application to art were so intense 
lat he could think of scholastic education only at the age of nine by which time, 
e was a recognised artiste in the music world. He switched over to 
ottuvadyam when his vocal expression was fairly advanced. 

Ravi Kiran is one of the top, senior artistes now and perhaps the best 
uthority to handle chitraveena. He has not the inclination to stoop to play to 
allery or deviate from the golden mean of pure classicism. His rendition enjoys 
le majesty which one sees in Muthuswami Dikshitar's kritis. In his approach 
> his music, he is in the distinguished company of the late Veena Balachander, 
ho had once said : 



"The rasika's love for music has no commercial angle, whereas, we (musicians) are 
being paid to perform for them!! To us, it is certainly a commercial proposition, a 
commercial commitment!!! Hence, from where we sit, they are purer at heart!!! . , . 
As a musician, your responsibility is to see that, although it is a commercial 

It is noteworthy that young Ravi Kiran is a staunch believer of this dictum 
and has never swerved from it. His ideal is fully projected in his statement 

" I seek to expand the horizon of their knowledge and deepen their 
understanding by giving explanation and lecdem. " 

How many artistes could lay claim to this? A Commerce Graduate and sports 
enthusiast, Ravi Kiran has founded the International Foundation for Carnatic 
Music to cater to the needs of students, etc., in furtherance of this objective. 

Gottuvadyam is a rare musical instrument and only a few have been able to 
master it and attain renown and fame; and so it is meritorious that Ravi Kiran 
distinguished himself while so young as the most authentic exponent on that 


1 The faultless vision of classicism, his pure and intense gaze of gnanam... phrasing 
the ragas with pregnant silences between statements created each raga beautifully 
and evoked its powerful tranquility, demonstrating authentic aiapana tradition. ' 

(The HindU) 

'NMN'calied him a 'Safigeetha Gnani.' The 'Gnani' is a picture of decorum, 
dignity and poise on the dais - exuding self-reverence, self-knowledge and 
self-control. In July 1985, Ravi Kiran demonstrated his determination, skill and 
expertise with a non-stop twenty-four hour play on Chitraveena and the unique 
feature of this exercise was that it was done sans food, water and even 
movement from his seat It was a feat of endurance, total surrender to music, 
yogic musical expression and nadha yoga. 

Titles and Honours : 

1973 Arul Isai Selvam - 

1 980 Nada Sudharnava 

1 985 Sangeeth Samrat - 

1 985 Kalaimamani - 

1 986 Madura Nada Mannar - 
1991 Sanskrit! Award - 

By Tamil Nadu Nalvazhi Nilayam 

By Murali Ravali 

By Wisdom International 

By Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 

By Arul Neri Mandram 

By Sanskriti Pratishtan of India. 

Concert Tours : 

Festival of India in France 1 985 

Rang - Raag Fest, U.K. 1 986 

International Musical Festival of Radio France 1 987 

Festival of India in Switzerland 1 987 

Raag - Mala Festival, USA 1 988 

Festival of India, Germany 1 991 - 1 992 
Concerts in France, Germany, Holland, U.K., USA, Canada etc., 


The photo taken on the occasion of Ravi Kiran's advent at the Music 
Academy at the age of two graces this 'Garland ', Admirers may be glad to be 
reminded of a like reaction in the life of another great man in a different walk of 
life. Samuel Johnson was not quite three years old; he was at the Cathedral 
perched upon his father's shoulders listening and gaping at the much celebrated 
preacher, Dr. S. When asked how such an infant could possibly be thought of 
being brought to a crowded church, father Michael Johnson answered : 

' It is impossible to keep him at home; for young as he is, he has caught the public 
spirit and zeal for Dr. S. and would have stayed for ever in the Church satisfied with 
beholding him ! ' 

Ravi Kiran is a knowledgeable instrumentalist of such sweetness of tone, 
temperament and deportment that it is hard to imagine him sounding anything 
but benignly classical. 


Wit, Wisdom and Mischief are collaterals. It is well known that flautist wizard 
Sarabha Sastri had a disciple in Sanjeeva Rao. Actually there was another, Ramu of 
Tiruvisanallur who later flowered as the famous mimicry specialist and Asthana Vidwan 
Vikatakavi Ramaswami Sastrigal. 

Ramu was witty, wise and mischievous. Rama of Ramayana too was so. Did he not 
antagonise Manthara, the hunchback? Sarabha was about to enter his house after a visit. 
Ramu, who was tuning the tambura for Sanjeeva *s flute practice, stopped tuning it but 
mimicked deliberately bringing an element of wrong sruti. The maestro was shocked 
and shouted., 

* Sanjeeva, where is the sruti, you.../ 

Innocent Sanjeeva did not know what had happened. He was shocked, apologised 
and pointed to the culprit Ramu. The learned Sarabha could not see the mischievous joy 
in the face of young Ramu as he was not blessed with eye-sight. Suppose he had it, 
would he have enjoyed it or shown the gate to Ramu? 

The art of musical mimicry has practically lost its popularity after the lifetime of 
Ramaswami Sastrigal. 



Prof. Sadagopan was a distinguished musician-teacher who had contributed 
much to the science and art of music. He held highly practical and enlightened 
views and made a subtle distinction between Music in Education and Education 
in Music and supported the view that Lakshya (aesthetic perception) should 
precede and prevail over Lakshna (intellectual abstraction). Here is a beautiful 
bunch of similies from him : 

' Nada is the calm Sea of Quiet Joy 
on which the student voyages. 
The boat is his voice and it should not be leaky. 
Sruti is the rudder; Laya, the paddle. 
Raga Bhava is the sail; and imagination, the wind. 1 

He had his musical tutelage with Namakkal Sesha Ayyangar and Ramanuja 
Ayyangar. Was Professor, Delhi University (Faculty of Music). He founded the 
Tyaga Bharati' School. Was on the Experts Committee of the Music Academy, 
Madras and had contributed much to its deliberations. Viravanallur Vedantam 
Sadagopan represented Indian Music in the Centenary Celebrations of the 
Moscow Conservatoire, 1966. He was Founder - Director, Delhi Sangeeta 
Samaj. Was a regular contributor of articles and was Editor of the journal 
Indian Music published by it. Spirals and Circles compiled from notes and 
lectures of Sadagopan was released by the Music Education Mission. The book 
presents a master plan for teaching, singing and hearing of music. 'Has an 
evangelic zeal for "Music for Human Relations through integrative Music 
Education". He believes individual, social and global harmony can be fostered 
through this. A musician of high calibre.' 

Indian Music Journal. 

Concert Tour : Europe. 
Disc recordings. 

Sadagopan has composed songs under the signature 'Seshadasan' and 
has set to tunes many songs of Ambhujam Krishna and others. 


A disciple of the illustrious Wallajah Venkataramana Bhagavatar, who was a 
direct disciple of Tyagarajah, Sadasiva Rao is the distinguished musician who 
trained the famous Veena Subbanna and Veena Seshanna of Mysore. A 
runaway boy at twelve and a Collector's Office clerk later, he became Asthana 


Vidwan at the Mysore Durbar a recognition of his erudite musical scholarship 
Of course, he might not have accepted the post but for a quirk of fate! ? ^dasivs 
Rao was affluent and was passionately devoted to Atithi satkara - fee* ding as 
many guests as possible daily at his house. Feeding guests was a custom'tha 
was part of Hindu dharma till recently. He never wavered in his great rnissior 
even when generosity and charity had reduced his status from a princely lifetc 
abject penury. (This may remind one of a tamil king of 'Purananuru' d^ys, whc 
was lavish in his charity. He was overthrown by another ruler and thrown intc 
prison. Chanty did not help him to win the war but provided him with ar 
occasion to become immortal in the golden pages of poetry. A poet ignorant o 
his pathetic lot, went to meet him and at the prison eulogised his noble trait 
regretting the king's present condition and his own harsh fate. The penniless 
prisoner gave him a letter addressed to his wife. The forlorn lady, on sowing th< 
later, felt miserable having nothing to present to the poet as counselled by he 
spouse. Finally she tied up a turmeric as her mangalasutra and presented th< 
only article of value she had viz., the mangalasutra (thali) itself made of gold t< 
uphold the unsullied dharmic dignity of her spouse! In the life* o^ Ac 
Sankaracharya, the lady had nothing left to present to the yogi and presents th< 
only thing left in her house, an emblic myrabolan.) Sadasiva was a faithfi 
follower of the scriptural injunctions on charity. He had perforce to aocept thi 
post of Court Vidwan on Rs. Thirty per mensem in the context of his straitenei 
circumstances. He died at the age of eighty full of merit and glory. 

Sadasiva Rao was born at Chittoor and went over to Mysore when he wa 
thirty years old. He had an imposing personality, dignified and grand. Was i 
mahratta and a devotee of Lord Narasimha. Mysore Vasudevachar reoounts 
very significant incident. Rao was giving a concert for Ramotsavam to a packe 
hall. Someone requested him to sing his kirtana Na.r^^imhud 
(Kamalamanohari). Rao explained that he used to sing that song only in hi 
pooja room observing a fast. The admirer persisted with folded hands innocer 
of his qualms. 'Believing /ana seva is also a form of Janardana Sev& 9 3 adasiv 
Rao went through pallavi and anupallavi and when he was singing the sahity 
Sanakadulu Vismayimpa, the framed picture of Narasimha hung up on the wa 
suddenly fell down, the glass breaking into pieces! The great man was In tear 
and the audience felt sad and distressed. 

He has composed delightful kirtanas full of bhava and bhakti lik 
Paramadbhutamaina (Kham@s) on Srirangam Ranganatha, Sri Partfa &sarat-h 
{Bhairavi) on the Lord at Triplicane, Kanugoni (Kalyani) on Sri Karnaksti 
Kanchipuram. His disciple Subbanna kept complete account of his tanaivarnai 
padavarnas, kirtanas, tillanas and swarajatis. Vasudevacharya descri Ibes Rao 
style as Narikelapaka with a difficult outer structure but with sweet, nourishin 
inner content and calls him Gandharvamsha Sambhoota. He ha.d adopte 
several signatures including 'Sadasiva Bhagyadheya'. His songs are full < 



1 Sethuraman sings the praise of Siva as the four great Nayanmars did; he pours out his 
soul in praise of Vishnu as the twelve great Alwars did; he goes into ecstasies over 
Muruga as Saint Arunagirinathar did; he sings the glory of Ambikai (Goddess) as* 
Abhirami Bhattar did; and he celebrates in his poems the lives and greatness of 
contemporary saints as Sekkizhar did in the 1 2th century A.D: of the famous sixty-three 
saints. I shall not be surprised if he sings of the Buddha and Christ, Zoraster and 
Mohammed, Confucius and Tao also. ' 

O.V. Alagesan, former Minister, Government of India and 

an ardent admirer of Swamigal. 

Sethuraman is now Sadhuram Swamigal after renunciation. He is an 
Arutkavi, a gifted composer of songs and verses. He does not consciously 
compose; the sahitya, the lyric or the songs roll out cascading as if the Amazon 
rushes through the 167 feet Niagara Falls! He stands in trance; no conscious 
effort, no manner of thinking or perceivable mental exercise. Honeyed songs 
and poems pour out of his lips pregnant with excellence of concept, richness of 
rhythm and easy-paced rhyme. The author of this book was himself a witness 
to one such exercise of his about three decades back when Swamigal had not 
taken to renunciation. It was unbelievable. It was at Uthiramerur famous for its 
Chola inscriptions on Panchayat Raj and O.V. Alagesan brought him to the 
temple there. Alagesan records that those who doubted about the divine 
rendition of the Tamil Big Four Apostles and of Arunagirinathar would get 
enlightened when they see Swamigal's flowing extempore composition and 
rendition and states that there is no such person of his eminence now in Tamil 
Nadu. The compositions are in chaste tamil conforming to the rules of grammar 
and prosody. 'His whole being melts into music everytime he composes.' 

S.V. Sethuraman though born at Madras belongs to Nadakudi near Nannilam 
on the banks of the River Mudicondan near Srivanjiam. Son of S. Venkataswami 
Ayyar and Dharmambal Ammal, he passed his SSLC and was in service in the 
Sub Registry Offices at Tiruporur and Madras, Prithvi Insurance Company and 
Life Insurance Corporation of India, Madras. Was of a religious bent of mind 
even while young and had strange premonitions and experiences. For instance, 
on January 20, 1952, a ripe old man approached him at Tiruporur, handed over 
to him a 108-line kummi song, took him to his Chintadripet (Madras) residence 
and disappeared! That was the beginning of his spiritual pursuits and he began 
to spin out delicious songs full of devotional flavour, artistic grace and 
conceptual beauty. The incident of 20th January was a mystic experience pure 
and simple which confirmed the path and purpose of his mission. The 108-line 
piece was Thiru Murugan Hara Harao HarakkummL He had earlier initiation in 
Tirupugazh by Sri Vallimalai Sachitananda Swamigal. 

Official life hindered not his spiritual mission but was not in tune with his 
innate instincts and his efflorescence in the destined path. He took to 


renunciation on February 15, 1969 and Sethuraman became Sadhuram 
Swamigal. His compositions called Arutpugazh number twenty-thousand 
progressively increasing in number and variety. Arul Isas Mani, Tirupugazh 
Nallisai Selvar, Su.Ve. Subramaniam, his purvashrama brother assists him in 
recording his outpourings even as Purandara's sons helped their illustrious 

Swamigal made his debut in 1951 with a musical discourse at Madras and 
extempore rendition commenced in 1953 at Nadakudi. He has been giving 
musica! discourses and lectures. Has toured throughout India and has founded 
many institutions to further his laudable objectives.. 

His publications are numerous -and varied including a prose work Katturai 

Disc recordings : Tirupugazh in two cassettes 

Sri Reddiapatti Swamigal's Arutpadalgal, etc. in eight 


Arulkavi, Aasukavi, 

Madhurakavi, Chitrakavi, 

Vistharakavi, Chathurakavi Rajan. 

His fiftieth birthday was celebrated in 1987 with great enthusiasm. The 
Golden Jubilee Souvenir released on the occasion contains some of his 
compositions. Presently he is based in the Pongi Madalayam, Nangainallur, 
Madras. Musicians may avail of his songs and bring them to current use. 



'Sahaji Raja, the Abhinavabhoja of Tanjore was the second and the most 
illustrious of the Mahratta rulers of Tanjore. Rightly does he occupy the most 
honoured place in the galaxy of royal musicologists, royal composers and royal 
patrons', remarks Dr. S. Seetha lately of the Madras University. While a very 
large number of works are attributed to him, the music of only one, Sankara 
Palliseva Prabhanda, a geya nataka is available. His Tyagesa Pada(s) in 
Sanskrit, mahratti and telugu testify to his eminence, scholarship and mastery 
in language and music, His Saptasagara Suladi Prabandha Ula Daru in mahratti 
is a ragatalamalika with diverse musical forms revealing his high intellectual 
attainments and musicianship. Sahaji Ragalakshana (in manuscript) is his 
contribution as a musicologist. Tyagesa 1 and Tyaga' are his signatures 
signifying his devotion to the Presiding Deity of Tiruvarur, 


Son of Ekoji I and Dipambika, Sahaji had probably Appa Sastri alias Sri 
Parabrahmananda Yogi as his spiritual preceptor. 


If there are a few lady-musicians who are not only proficient in diverse 
musical styles but are prominent in other fields as well, undoubtedly Sakuntala 
Narasimhan is one among them. She was born at Kanchipuram, of G.S. Raman 
and Sugandha in a musical family. Her grandmother was a disciple of the 
renowned Naina Pillai and Puducheri Rangaswami Ayyangar and her mother 
was quite felicitous in vocal and on veena and in Carnatic and Hindustani music. 
Sakuntala naturally inherited the legacy of the family - which seems to run in the 
female line and enlarged her musical training and knowledge with a Sangita 
Vidwan diploma from the Central College of Carnatic Music with distinction. 
Ustad Hafeez Ahmed Khan was her preceptor in Hindustani music. 

Made her debut at the age of ten at Delhi in a duet with her mother. During 
the last two decades she seems to be running against the clock and the calender 
in giving lecture- demonstrations and concerts in India and abroad and pursuing 
her hefty journalistic endeavours. Her lectures in musicology are relished by 
the lay and the cognoscenti and she has bagged many gold medals for her 
concerts and lectures on musicology. 

Sakuntala Narasimhan taught Musicology at the Bombay University and has 
been examiner for the same since 1 977-78. A post-graduate in economics and 
an award-winning journalist, she is fully equipped to make analytic probes into 
the immense panorama of Music of India. Was guest faculty at SNDT and 
Bombay University. Musical legacy and training, felicity in different languages 
and journalistic pursuits gave her the ideal field to project her talents 
successfully. Sakuntala Narasimhan is well known as a full-time journalist and 
later Assistant Editor, Femina and Columnist on women's issues and consumer 
affairs for Deccan Herald since 1984. Got the outstanding Woman Journalist 
Award for 1984 and Runner-up Woman Journalist and Eve's Weekly Awards 
1984 and 1986. Her published articles number a gigantic 950 till now! Was 
Vice-President, Consumer Guidance Society of India, 1989 and 1990. 

Concert tours: Japan, Singapore, France, USA, Kenya. 

Publications: Invitation to Indian Music (and four other books on other 


Disc recordings: CBS release 1 989 

Honours & Titles: 

To her acquisition of gold medals and awards, she has added the titles of 
'Sangita Ratna' in 1953 and 'Sur ManP in 1974. 



Sami Ayyar had his training in percussion under his uncle Mylattur Krishna 
Ayyar and in 1 938 entered the Annamalai University as Lecturer in Mridangam. 
Has authored the book 'Mridanga Paada Mural' released by the University. 

* * * 


Son of Vengu Bhagavatar, the bhajan specialist, Sami Bhagavatar was so 
much dedicated to devotional music that he would go to Madras during the 
Dhanurmasa to do bhajan along the main streets of Mylapore, since it was then 
the loveliest place on earth which exuded charm, calm, spiritual and musical 
environment and was the sanctuary and haven of bhagavatas, musicians and 
music-lovers. (And all that is lost now with the main streets around the tank and 
the temple being studded with hundreds of vendors and petty shops. Music 
would be the last art to peep in anywhere near or flourish. If music dried up on 
the streets, the beautiful tank has not seen a spoonful of water for half a decade 
and over! All the water inlets stand blocked.) 

Bhagavatar enjoyed a pleasing voice, an immense repertoire of Tyagaraja's 
songs and laid stress on the bhava and rasa of each song. He attracted massive 

* * * 


A talented composer in apoorva ragas and a scholar - expert in the 
presentation of the nuances and finer aspects of tamil songs, Sankara Ayyar is 
a senior vocalist 'He is one of our seldom heard vocalists whose music is shorn 
of shallow smartness and precocity and who is a repository of the purest 
tradition', states K.S. Mahadevan. His compositions come up for constant 

Born at Toga Malai in Tiruchirapalli district, of Venkatesa Ayyar and 
Kuppalammal, he had his training in music under his musician - grandfather, 
Krishna Ayyar for ten years. Later he joined the Ramanathan College of Musis 
of the Annamalai University and got the 'Sangeetha Bhushanam' diploma. At 
the College, he had the benefit of training under stalwarts like Tiger 
Varadachariar and Sathur Krishna Ayyangar. Made his debut at the 
Ramakrishna Home, Madras in 1937, when C.Saraswati Bai could not take up 
the harikatha concert listed for the day. In Carnatic music, it has been found 
that juniors who substituted for senior artistes had shot up to the top like 
Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, G.N. Balasubramaniam and Rajamanickam 
Pillai. Was Principal, Tamil Isai College, Devakottai and Professor, College of 
Carnatic Music, Madras and Shanmukhananda Sabha Music School, Bombay. 


His compositions are in Sanskrit, telugu and tamil and comprise varnam, pada 

ksrtan, javali, etc. Several of these are now handled by musicians and dance 

(Desh) was his first which incribed his name in the list 

memorable composers. Gitavadya Natana (Natakapriya), Manasarair 

and Balakhshna Paadame Thunai (Vishnupriya) are other popu 

among his forty compositions. 

Titles and Honours: 

Certificate of Merit from the Music Academy (1 986) 

Title of 'NadakanaT from Bharath Kaiachar. 

Kalaimamani from T.N.Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram (1992) 

Sankara Ayyar is a sampradaya vidwan who believes in the Carnatic B 
being followed in essence and spirit. His lecture- demonstrations are instruct! 
"He is a veritable walking encyclopaedia." 

* * * 

Son of Tanjore Duraiswami Ayyar, Sankara Ayyar had his violin train 
initially under his father and then under Trichy Violin Venugopala Pillai. Me 
his at Tanjore and had provided accompaniment to prominent artis 

including the Women Vocal Trinity, MSS, MLV and DKP. Has been awarded 

Kalaimamani' by Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1976. 


Place of birth: Madulakura in Hassan district. 

Sankaramurty had his initial training with Rama Bhatta, a bhagavata, leg 
telugu at Nandalur (A. P.) and in his thirteenth year underwent training in rau 
with Rama Josier and then Chembai Vaidyanatha Ayyar and R 
Keshavamurthy. His hunger for music was so intense that he learnt Hindust 
Bhatkhande at Bombay. His musical training would seem to hi 
him around different states. Returning to Bangalore, he enlarged 
and knowledge of the art with further training under Belakuv 
Ayyangar and Sathur Krishna Ayyangar. 

giving concerts as duo with G.L Ganesa Sastri. Has been giv 
on the All India Radio and elsewhere. Established the Guruk 
Nilaya, Bangalore. 


forty numbers on music in kannada including Pancharatna klrtai 
and Sangita Sudha (at prices within the reach of all). 


T.S. SANKARAN - FLAUTIST: (b.October 28, 1932) 

Place of birth Sathanur in Tanjore district 

Note: There are various places named Sathanur including one in South Arcot 
district where there is an irrigation reservoir and another near Saivagangamalai 
where Pundarika Vittala was born. 

Parents : IN. Sambasivam, flautist and IS. Alarmelu Ammal. 

Sankaran had his training in music under his father, a prominent flautist 
attached to the Tiruvaduthurai Mutt and Court Vidwan, Mysore. Later he had 
his gurukulavasa under the renowned T.R: Mahalingam (Mali) and continued 
with him to the last so devotedly that Mahalingam called him 'Ekalavya' and 
treated him as his brother. Sankaran has been giving concerts on the All India 
Radio, Doordarshan, sabhas, etc., and in India and abroad having made his 
debut at the tender age of nine at Avudayarkoil where St. Manickavachakar has 
built a magnificent temple for the invisible Linga. He follows the vocal style of 
rendition like Mali. Has choreographed some Tirupugazh songs in accordance 
with the old Santha Thalam mode. Sankaran 's rendition is soft and soothing. 
His concerts are 'aesthetically planned and fascinatingly rendered'. 

Was Staff Artiste, All India Radio, Delhi for five years. 

Concert tours abroad : USA, Canada, UK and France. 

Honours & Titles : Kalaimamani by Tamil Nadu lyal Isai Nataka Mandram 

in 1986. 

Nadakkanal by Nadakkanal (Bharat Kalachar), Madras 

in 1988. 

* * * 



A prominent veena vidwan of Trivandrum, Sankaranarayana Bhagavatar 
was the elder brother of Suchindram Padmanabha Bhagavatar. Had his training 
under Sathu Bhagavatar, a palace musician. T. Lakshmana Pillai of Travancore 
pays rich tributes to Sankaranarayana Bhagavatar, his guru. 

* * * 


(b. Jany. 9, 1911) 

Place of birth : Ambalapuzha, Kerala 

Panicker had his training in nagaswaram with P.S. Veeruswami Pillai of 
Tiruvidaimarudur, who is seen to have had K. Gopalakrishna Panicker 
(b. Novr. 11 1914), K. Gopalakrishna Panicker (b. 1919) and K. Chellappa 
Panicker (b. 1924), the latter two being called the Haripad Brothers also, as his 
disciples from Kerala. Pillai had thus helped in inducting the high standard of 


nagaswara rendition in Kerala. Panicker had ample scope to hear the different 
styles of other maestros of the Tanjore Delta. 

Tiruvizha Jayasankar, a popular nagaswaram vidwan, is among the 
disciples of Sankaranarayana Panicker. 

Disc recordings: 

Concert tour: Sri Lanka. 

* * * 


A respected artiste and teacher who had shaped the musical aspirations and 
destinies of many in the twin fields of vocal music and mridangam. His disciples 
include his son, C.S. Murugabhupathy, Ramnad Eswaran and Raghavan in 
mridangam, and Ramnad Krishnan and T.N. Seshagopalan in vocal music. 
Sankara Sivam is in the direct line of the disciples of Tyagaraja through 
Manambuchavadi Venkatasubba Ayyar, T.S. Sabhesa Ayyar, Sivasamban and 
Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar with whom he had his musical training for a 
full decade. He was versatile on violin, veena and jalatarangam and was a 
prominent vidwan in South Tamil Nadu. Sankara Sivam was Principal, Madurai 
Sri Sadguru Samajam, Member, Music Academy Experts' Committee and had 
been on AIR Audition Board and Madurai University Syllabus Committee. 

Parents : Chitsabhai Servai, Ramnad and Pappammal. 

Titles & Honours : Madura Kala Pravina from Sadguru Sabha, Madurai 

Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 
Samasthana Vidwan, Ramnad 1 945 

Honoured by Mummurthi Vizha Committee, 

Tiruvarur 1 991 

Concert tour : Sri Lanka. 


Place of birth : Nanjangud, Karnataka 

Musical training under : Chikka Rama Rao, Asthana Vidwan, Mysore Palace. 

A multi-faceted person, Sastry got a diploma in painting like Madras 
S. Rajam. He enhanced his knowledge and talents in music by contacts with 
professionals. He is conversant with different other arts like bommalattam 
(puppet-play), dancing, etc. Learnt Hindustani music too. Sastri has been 
contributing numerous articles on music, dance, etc., for over thirty years to the 
Illustrated Weekly of India, Economic Times, etc. He was in the Treasury 
Department of the State Government. His articles have clarity and depth. 

Sastry is connected with many institutions like: 
Lalit Kala Academy, Sangeet Natak Akademy, 


Karnataka State Sangeet Natak Academy, 

Bharatiya Musicological Sangeetha Sadas, 

All India Radio Audition Board and research bodies. 

Honours & Titles: 

Akashwani Annual Award 

Sangeet Natak Akademy Senior Cultural Fellowship. 
Certificate of Merit from the Music Academy, Madras. 
Gana Kala Bhushana from Bangalore Gayana Samajam. 
Honours from the Karnataka Nritya Academy, 1 987-88. 


Third of the distinguished Mysore Brothers and son of Ramalinga Ayya and 
Varalakshmi Amma, Satyanarayana learnt music from his mother and his elder 
brother R. Ghandrasekhariah. He took his M.Sc. from the Mysore University 
and became Professor of Chemistry, Sarada Vilas College. Got his D.Lit. He 
has been giving lectures on music in and outside India and has authored many 
articles and books. 'Kudumiamalai Inscriptions on Music' one of his works was 
published by the Varalakshmi Academies of Fine Arts, Mysore, jointly 
established by him and his elder brother. He is a Member of many associations 
like the American Ethnomusicological Society. 


Daughter of Dr. Seethapathi Ayyar and a disciple of Tiger Varadachariar and 
Veenai Dhanammal, Savitri Rajan chose to refrain from giving concerts but was 
giving lecture-demonstrations. Has published 'Sobillu Saptaswara\ a music 
primer in colloborationwith Michael and brought out the documentary The Flying 
Bird',. A cassette recording based on her publication titled 'The Splenderous 
Seven Notes' has also been released. Nadopasana was her passionate 

L.R record: 'Homage to my Guru Veena Dhanam' - a veena recital. 

if * * 


(Reigned 1798 -1832) 

Adopted son of Raja Tulajaji (1764-1787), Serfoji ascended the gadi at the 
age of nine to be promptly deposed by Amar singh. He got back the throne in 
1799 but it was the physical possession of the gadf sans power. Neither he 
reigned in reality nor did he rule. He had to meekly surrender the principality 


for a pension and a life of robust leisure! He played to the tune set by the British 
and constructed the monument 'Manora' on the sea - coast near Sethubhava- 
chatram to celebrate the success of the British over Napoleon at Waterloo in 
1 81 4! But the political non-entity was a prince among cultured elites. The fine 
distinction between rulers like Rajah Serfoji and Swati Tirunal Maharajah and 
others elsewhere in their conduct subsequent to the loss of power has to be kept 
in view. While Serfoji, etc., turned to art, architecture, sculpture, music, 
literature, etc., several ex-rulers enjoyed the fruits of pension without responsi- 
bility. While the former patronised artistes, constructed libraries, etc., the others 
amassed varieties in zenanas ! It is to the pristine glory of the fprmer that their 
sober, native wishes never learnt to stray! From the view point of culture, the 
loss of power was indeed a blessing. Probably like Napolean, he too should 
have thought that 'the throne is but a piece of wood covered with velvet'; but 
unlike him, inscribed his name in the eternal pages of cultural history! 

Serfoji's claim to distinction primarily lies in making the Saraswati Mahal 
Library a storehouse of knowledge and research. The library, of course, was 
there before, called the 'Saraswati Bhandaram' but it is to his magnificent vision 
and foresight, its elevation and glory are indebted. The library houses 30000 
Sanskrit, 2500 telugu, 5000 marathi, 2000 tamil and 500 in other languages 
books of varied importance. Manuscripts acquired by him were attested by him 
which indicates his love of books etc. Keenly devoted to medicine and science, 
he instituted the Dhanwantri Mahal, gathered eminent physicians and compiled 
highly valuable prescriptions for ills and diseases in eighteen volumes. 

An ardent devotee of music and patron of musicians and composers, his 
period saw the Carnatic Trinity, Tanjore Quartette, Kottaiyur Sivakolundu 
Desikhar of Sarabhendra Kuravanji and Abhirami Bhattar of Abhirami Anthadi. 
His Western orientation drew him towards Western music and he started the 
famous Tanjore Palace Band. Nava Vidya Kalanidhi was started to give training 
in oriental learning. Shorn of political power and administration, his interests 
and talents were 'amazingly varied and the varied subjects found an abundant 
place in his capable and capacious intellect'. He had 360 musicians attached 
to his court. He was himself a very good writer and composer. His compositions 

Radhakrishna Vilasa, Ganesa Lilarnava, 

Mohini Mahesa Parinaya, Devendra Kuravanji Nataka, 

Ganga Visveswara Parinayam, Ganesa Vijayam, 

Kiratarjuna Nimpana and Tristalli Tirtha Yatra Lavani and dance pieces in marathi, 

His nirupanas present a single theme with different dance pieces. 'He seems 
to be the first composer of recent times to introduce the ekartha - single theme 
concept in dance compositions, the features of which would seem to be the, 
precursors of most of the compositions of the compact series later delineated i 


by the Tanjore Quartette'. Each nirupana has Jaya Jaya, Sharanu, Alaru, Sollu, 
Sabda, Varna, Pada, Swarajati, Abhinaya pada, Tillana, Jakkini, Geeta, 
Prabandha, Triputa, Shlokavarna, Kauta and Mangala, (Suchetha Chapekar). 

The galaxy who adorned his court included: 

Sonti Venkatararnanayya 
Tanjore Quartette 
Ghanam Krishna Ayyar 
Anai - Ayya (Viriboni) 
Venkatasubba Ayyar 
Vedanayakam Piliai and 
Paidala Gurumurti Sastri 

It would appear that each one of the 360 musicians had his turn on a particular 
day for special concert at the palace. 

Thus Serfoji has been immortalised by the grace of Goddess Saraswati 
though disowned by Goddess Parvati having been sustained with pomp and 
glory by Goddess Lakshmi! 

VEENA! SESHA AYYAR - VAINIKA & COMPOSER; (fo.September 21, 1921) 

Place of birth : Madurai 

Parents : S. Ramakrishna Ayyar, a connoisseur of music and 

R. Subbulakshmi, a classical singer 

General Qualification ; B.Sc. (Maths), B.Sc.(Eng), RLE., F.I.P. E., 

Chartered Engineer. 

Post held : Chief Engineer in the Defence Services (since retired). 

Training in music Trivandrum Krishna Bhagavatar and 

under : M.A. Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar - both eminent 


Debut : Chamber Concert before G.N. Balasubramaniam and 

his guru in 1941. 

Tours : Lecture-Demonstrations in Minnepolis, USA in 1986. 

A gentleman of profound grace and robust culture, Sesha Ayyar is multi- 
faceted. His late wife and a daughter on veena and another daughter with 
bharatanatyam presented an ideal home humming with art and music and Sesha 
Ayyar presided over it for long and continues to maintain that atmosphere now 
with disciples. He is a composer of merit and elegance in tamil, telugu and 
Sanskrit. His first publication titled 'Nritya Geetanjali' - Part I containing 
jatiswarams, padams, pada varnams, javalis and tillanas was released 
appropriately by Nritya Choodamani Kamala Lakshman on January 16, 1990, 
Several of his compositions have been successfully performed by artistes of 
merit already. His songs have won high approbation from danseuses, art-lovers 


and critics of standing like T.S. Parthasarathy and K.S. Mahadevan. 
Swamimalai Rajarethinam, one of the foremost authorities on bharatanatya, 
spoke eloquently on the fine and delectable concepts, sublime sentiments, 
emotive situations and artistic contrivances in the songs enabling dancers to 
bring out their artistic genius, emotional instincts to full focus. Sesha Ayyar 
takes the interest and trouble to guide the artistes in the finer intricacies, the 
underlying bhava and rasa and the varied scope for portrayal. 

'Nritya Geetanjali' Part II containing pushpanjali, alarippu, kauvuthams, 
padams, etc., in seven languages is due for release shortly. The innovative 
compositions excel in prosodic finesse brimming with emotional themes, poetic 
and dramatic appeal and thrilling potential for succinct portrayals by artistes. 
Ayyar has indented and drawn on his expertise in the rhythm of veenato present 
measured rhythm and studied melody in complementary roles while presenting 
his dance pieces to the world of bharatanatya. Thoughtful conception, selection 
of apt episodes from epics and spiritual treatises, appropriate ragas^and graces 
embellish his compositions. The skill of an engineer in the musician - composer 
ensures precision, consummate artistry and performance audit - a case of 
'Dance-Music Engineering 1 . 

V.P. Dhananjayan of Bharata Kalanjali feels that 'it is a dire necessity to 
induct new streams of lyrics and music to dance as practitioners are increasing 
day by day and in that context too, Ayyar's compositions are most welcome'. 
There are not many composers of eminence of songs for bharatanatya today 
and Sesha Ayyar's efforts and contribution demand special approbation. Plato 
insisted on a knowledge of music and mathematics for admission to his school. 
Sesha Ayyar is an apt and ideal candidate Plato would have been glad to take 
in - not as a mere student but as a tutor ! 

Veena Sesha Ayyar is choreographer, photographer, portrait painter and a 
musicologist which help him to visualise from different angles, moods, bhavas 
and other finer aspects which enter into the theme of his songs. Ayyar is a 
restless soul soaked in fragrant art. 

KOMANDURI SESHADRI - VIOLINIST: (b. Jany. 31 , 1949 ) 

An off-spring of a hereditary musical family, Komanduri Seshadri, son of 
Ananthacharyulu and Kanakammal was born at Guntur. He is a Lecturer in 
Violin, G.V.R. Music College, Vijayawada for the last sixteen years. Has been 
giving concerts for over two decades in vocal, violin and viola on the All India 
Radio and elsewhere. 

Academic Qualification : Bachelor of Commerce. 

Training and Initial training under father, a vainika and paternal uncle 

qualification in music : Thirumalacharyulu, also a vainika. 


Diploma in Violin and vocal, Andhra University 


Master's Degree in Music from Mysore University 1973. 

Advanced training under M. Chandrasekharan, 
the prominent violinist 

K. Seshadri has been giving lecture-demonstrations in different languages 
and has established a record for twenty-four hour non-stop singing of 
Tyagabrahma kritis in 1988. His sons K.A.S. Rajan and K.V. Krishna, both in 
their teens, are his disciples and have been giving voco-violin concerts. 


Father : S.V. Subba Rao 

Seshagiri Rao had his training with his father and enlarged the scope of his 
violin play and skill by constantly hearing prominent violinists. Rao was an 
artiste with All India Radio and is a competent accompanist. 


"Ludwig van Beethoven had planned to dedicate his Third Symphony, one of the 
towering landmarks of Western Music, to Nepoleon, but struck the dedication from the 
title page of the manuscript when he heard that Nepoleon had crowned himself 

Beethoven used his art to express his revolutionary spirit in a way that no previous 
artist has done. Has any one done so later? 

When Nepoleon bombarded Vienna in 1809, Beethoven had to protect his ears with 
pillows to protect his already damaged hearing. 

* * * 

"I have read your lousy review of Margaret's concert. I've come to the conclution 
that you are an 'eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay*... Some day I hope to see you. 
When that happens, you'll need a new nose, a lot of beef-steak for black eyes and 
perhaps a supporter below." 

President Harry S. Truman - in response to Washington Post critic Pant Hume's 
review of a concert by Margaret Truman, Time 18 . 12 . 1950. (Encyclopaedia of 
Music -Alan Blackwood - Wardlock Ltd., London.) 



I What Bradman was to cricket," Seshanna was to veena. Veena and Seshanna were 
synonymous. He was a nadayogi who lived like a colossus in the field of veena. ' 

K. Srikantiah 

II His music flowed like sweet honey. Seshanna did hot believe in depth or intensity. He 
played on the veena and with it. His regal mien and the joy he diffused all around him 
by his own ecstasy was nothing if not contagious. His nimble fingers flew up and down 
the octave, weaving figures of three's and four'? like a dummy horse drum and came 
to a stop with a bang, striking the four strings together. " 

(R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar) 

Karnataka has always had a fancy for veena and patronage of Mysore 
Royalty to vainikas has been proverbial. The golden age of cultural renaissance 
in Mysore reached its peak, according to Prof. R.N. Doreswami, during the 
reigns of - 

Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar 1 794 - 1 868 

Chamaraja Wodeyar 1 863 - 1 894 

Nalvadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar 1 884 - 1 940 and 

Jayachamaraja Wodeyar 1 91 9 - 1 974. 

Broadly speaking according to the learned Professor, three styles were in 
vogue, viz., Tanjore, Mysore and Andhra - with the following characteristics: 

Tanjore Style: 

Bass tonal quality as a result of using thick guage strings and tuning to a low 
key (sruti); vilamba laya with long curves produced by deflecting the strings. 
Masculine in quality with more accent on vocal-based rendering. 

Mysore style: 

Sweet tonal quality with sharpness and clarity comparable to female voice. 
Thinner guage strings tuned to a higher key; fingering and plucking harmonious 
and melodious by using the tripanchaka gamaka on all the three strings, 
Madhya laya mostly and also druta laya. Tana had a special place. 

Andhra Style: 

Resembled the Tanjore style but it has become a combination of the other 

M.J. Srinivasa Ayyangar opines that vocalization of veena is the main 
characteristic of the Mysore style. Perhaps 'all said and done, it is only one style 
veena style'. 


Veena Seshanna was the foremost of veena artistes of Karnataka and hailec 
from a long line of vainikas. Son of Veena Bakshi Chikkaramappa, a vainita 
and asthana vidwan, Seshanna had his training in veena and vocal with his 
father. A prodigy, he played a complex pallavi at the age of ten in the presence 
of the Maharaja and vidwans on a Shivaratri day and came to royal notice, Was 
an acknowledged player in his twenties. His 'meetu' - plucking of the string 
was mature, his imaginative rendering attractive and his tala immaculate. Wher 
he lost his father at the age of sixteen, Seshanna continued his training witt 
Dodda Seshanna in veena and vocal with the renowned Mysore Sadasiva Rao 
As umpires do in cricket to count the balls bowled, his sister would keep tamariru 
seeds to count the number of times he practised avarthas and his rigorou: 
practice was comparable to those of Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar and Dwaran 
Venkataswami Naidu - violinists, Venkataramana Das and Sangameswar; 
Sastri - vainikas and Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar, the vocalisl 
Seshanna was an adept in playing on violin, sitar, swarabat, organ, piano, am 
jaltarang also and would give flill-scale concerts on them. He masterei 
Hindustani and Western music and so would give varied concerts. He enjoye 
others' music and rewarded them too. 

He was the kingpin, centre of attraction in all musical endeavours i 
Karnataka, was asthana vidwan, Mysore and was honoured by the Gaekwad c 
Baroda with a palanquin! His ve$na play was pleasing; played rapid passage 
of flageolet notes. He introduced the use of different fingers to produce note 
in ascending and descending series. 'He was playing not so much on the string 
of the veena as on the heart-string^ of the audience'. It was all due to his innat 
genius and the hard discipline to which he and his co-disciple Subbanna ha 
been subjected to by his well-meaning sister Venkamma. After all, he was nc 
born with a silver spoon in his moutyi like Bakshi Subbanna, another maestn 
Seshanna used to reminisce, 

There was a time when I used tp roam about in the streets of Mysore carryir 
the veena on my shoulders locking for homes where festoons were exhibit* 
outside for chance invitation to play on veena. I have also given many concer 
for as low a fee as Rs. five. ' K, Sri kantia 

If Venkamma at home insisted on macro practice, guru Dodda Seshanr 
was a match for her in insisting on a very high degree of proficiency ar 
specialisation by practice. His nod of appreciation or satisfaction would n 
come easily. To borrow the words of Nedunurt Krishnamurti, he 'taught mus 
and not songs'. Once, Seshanna did rigorous practice of tanas but the gun 
nod was not forthcoming even after four days! The disciple murmured. 

( Who is there? Get me my veena', thundered the guru, 

' Sit down Seshanna; let me play for you. You may find out for yourself whether yc 
practice is enough.' 


The boy having listened with tears rolling down his cheeks, stood up and in choked voice 
with his upper cloth tied round his waist confessed - 

1 Sir, I had the conceit to think that nobody else practised as hard as I did. Pray, forgive 

Dodda Seshanna softened and said: 

' Look, my dear Seshanna! If I was hard on you, it was only because I was interested in 
your progress. I used to practice each tana a hundred times. Only he who practised 
the hard way acquires this art.' 

Seshanna was a devoted disciple; he practised and achieved profound skill, 
expertise and proficiency. Vasudevacharya says that the audience sat 
spellbound when Seshanna played. Seshanna had also given violin 
accompaniment to Vasudevacharya, his disciple and had played jalatarangam 
at the royal court. The multi-faceted genius placed Mysore on the musical map 
of India and his name is cherished to this day. Mysore was a beehive of high 
musical activity during his days. And his tall stature and fame did not dislodge 
his liberal piety and spiritual attributes. His lofty approach to veena was clearly 
spiritual. He said: 

' A good veena recital should witness more tonal quality and be soft and 
soothing - madhuram veenamnltam panchama subhagascha kokllalapaha. 
Extraneous sound from frets and strings should never jar the ear. 1 

Sankarabharana, Kalyani, Khamas, Begada and Kedaragoula were favourite 
ragas with him. His layajnana was very sharp and precise; would play scores 
of avartas without counting by hand. His fame spread far and wide. 

Like the Gaekwad of Baroda, the Rajah of Ramnad honoured him by asking 
him to give a week-long concert. The rulers of Gwalior, Indore, Bhopal, 
Pudukottai and Gadwal showered gifts and honours on him. King George V 
(then Prince of Wales) was so charmed that he took back with him a portrait of 
Seshanna; and Mahatma Gandhi heard him play for long hours! There was in 
his rendition spiritual message and appeal to the soul decidedly! E.R. Sethuram 
of Mysore writes that it was said that he got more than forty todas, innumerable 
necklaces, hundreds of diamond rings, etc. (There was no Income-tax or Wealth 
Tax !) As if his name could not be weighed against all these and the fame he 
commands still, Ganabharati, Mysore has erected a fine auditorium dedicated 
to him and brought out a souvenir in 1991. There are stalwart disciples of 
Seshanna in Prof. R.N. Doreswamy, V. Doreswamy lyengar and M.J. Srinivasa 
lyengar besides the late Vasudevachar to carry on his message. 

He was a composer too. His compositions comprise eleven swarajatis, nine 
varnas, sixteen kritis and seventeen tillanas. Five are in kannada and the rest 
are in telugu. They are rich in raga bhava and scope for gamakas and he has 
availed of rare tajas and rare ragas in ragamalikas. His signature is 'Sesha'. 


Veena Venkataramana Das was a cousin of his in the third degree. Weil-versed 
in astrology, he is credited with forecasting the date of his death, July 25, 1926. 

Seshanna enjoyed an imposing personality and would look like a sage on 
the stage. Veena was his breath. In line with the description of the Lord by 
Tyagaraja 'Oka mata, oka banamu, oka pathni vruthude', Seshanna's one world 
was veena, his arrow of unfailing direction was his handling the instrument and 
in short, his wedding with veena was sublime and total. 

The advent, eminence and popularity of Seshanna gave a marked tilt in 
favour of vainikas in Karnataka which enjoys a rich crop of veena artistes still. 


Place of birth : Mysore 

Father & Guru : Khande Dasappa 

Seshappa has had wide practice and was Asthana Vidwan, Mysore Court, 
He presided over the Karnataka Gana Kala Parishat Conference in 1991 and 
was conferred with the title of 'Gana Kala Bhooshana'. He pleaded with 
musicians at the conference to have konnakol, kanjira or ghatam as additional 
accompaniment as these are languishing for want of adequate patronage and 
with the organisers to disburse the remuneration to the side accompanists direct 
and not channelise it through the chief artiste since in many cases the quota of 
water released from the reservoir does not reach the fields to the benefit of which 
it is let out! Part or the whole of it gets impounded illicitly en route \ (It is criminal 
misappropriation he referred to.) 

Seshappa exhibited percussive talents even in his sixth year. As mridangam 
was becoming popular in Karnataka in the thirties, he switched over from tabla 
to mridangam. Has accompanied prominent musicians and was State Examiner 
for Examinations. A talented artiste. 


A famous mridangist in Kerala, Sethurama Rao had given accompaniment 
to distinguished musicians like Coimbatore Raghava Ayyar and Parameswara 
Bhagavatar. He was getting financial aid from Travancore Government. His play 
had lesser 'meettus'and more of 'purattals'and was known for loud projections. 
Would not take on solo (tani) ! Probably he was unique in this sphere. The reason 
for the surrender of a privilege is not known. 


S. SHANKAR - VOCALIST: (20th Cent) 

A popular vocalist, Shankar has been giving concerts for over two decades. 
He learnt music with Vallabham Kalyanasundaram and had been graded 'A' with 
AH India Radio. He is an Auditor in the office of the Accountant-General. 


(b. July 17, 1915) 

Son of Rathinam Pillai, Shanmugam Pillai had his training in tavil under 
Tiruvalaputhur Pasupathi Tavilkarar and later under Needamangalam 
Meenakshisundaram Pillai. Was accompanist to stalwart nagaswara artistes like 
P.S. Veeruswami Pillai and Tiruvizhimalalai Brothers. Has received appreciation 
from a wide circle of admirers and the title of 'Kalaimamani'from the Tamil Nadu 
Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram in 1974 

VOCALIST/PEDAGOGUE: (b.Septr.15, 1937) 

Rich voice, chaste pronunciation, aesthetic presentation and passionate 
faith in Tamil Isai qualify the successful life of S. Shanmughasuhdaram, who 
hails from a hereditary family of instrumental musicians and a village noted for 
its role in the field of drama and music. Tiruppamburam in Tanjore district is just 
two kilometers from the author's village and is surrounded by musical cradles 
like Mudicondan, Keeranur, Tiruvizhimalalai and Kothavasal. 

Parents : N. Somasundaram & Pattammal (Sangita Kalanidhi 

T.N. Swaminatha Pillai was his paternal uncle.) 

Musical Training : First under his father. 

Sangeetha Vidwan diploma from the Government Music 

College, Madras. 

Isai Mani Course at the Tamil Isai Kalloori, Madras. 

Attended a course at the Sangeetha Vadyalaya of 

Prof.R Sambamurti. 

Teacher's Training Certificate. 

Posts held : 

Inspector of Music Schools under T.N. Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. 

Lecturer, Government Music College, Madras. 

Professor/Principal, Government Music College, Madurai 

Principal, Government Music College (now Training Centre), Madras since 1988. 

Member, University Music Boards. 


Disc recordings: 
Publications : 

Tamil !sai Nunukkam 
Keertanai lyal. 

Honours & Titles : 

Kalaimamani, Isai Kalai Selvar, 

Perumbana Nambi, Tamil Isai Mavendar, 

Isaimamani, Sangita Sagaram. 

Shanmughasundaram conducted a music school named 'Saraswati 
Carnataka Music School' and a music sabha called 'Swara Ragalaya'. He takes 
creditable role in spreading Tamil Isai and starting Irai Isai Pani Mandram and 
Tamil Isai Valarchi Mandram. Has been taking part in seminars and presenting 
concerts in addition to his collegiate responsibilities. Enjoys pleasant receptivity, 
An enjoyable voice and a good repertoire of tamil songs are his forte. 


(b.ApriI2, 1914) 

Born at Valangiman (from which hailed the eminent V.S.Srinivasa Sastri), of 
Arumugham Pillai, Shanmughasundaram Pillai had his training under his father, 
and his brother and later under the renowned Nachiarkoil Raghava Pillai. He 
was a leading vidwan for five decades and a popular one. 

He is a Vice President of the Tyagabrahma Mahotsava Sabha. Has visited 
Sri Lanka. The Music Academy, Madras honoured him in 1 977 with a Certificate 
of Merit and the Sangeet Natak Akademy, Delhi conferred on him the Akademy 
Award in 1985. 

SHANTA NARASIMHAN - VEENA ARTISTE : (b.September 22, 1938) 

Born at Bangalore, of Janardhana lyengar, a prominent veena vidwan and 
a disciple of Veena Venkatagiriappa of Mysore, Shanta Narasimhan had her 
initial training with her father. She had training in vocal music under R. Shankara 
Murthy and R.K. Srikantan. Made her debut in 1960 at Sri Ramapuram Rama 
Mandiram, Bangalore during the Ramotsava. She is giving a large number of 
concerts on the All India Radio and elsewhere. 

Concert tours : U.K. USA and Canada. 



Place of birth : Rudrapatnam, Karnataka - a nursery of musicians. 

Parents : M.N.Subramanyam & A.A.Hemalata. 

Musical training under : Preliminary training under father, a disciple of Dindigul 


R.KSrikantan for three years 
K.V.,Narayanaswamy for 3 V years. 

Thirteen-year old Shashank is now a student in the VII I standard and already 
he is a well-known flautist. Made his debut at Adelaide, Australia on September 
30, 1 990 (in a hurry not to wait for the dawn in the Indian subcontinent four hours 
later!) and in India at the Sastri Hall on December 20, 1990 for Sruti Laya Seva 
of Karaikudi Mani. It is said that when Flute Mali heard six-year old Shashank 
play the flute, he advised that Shashank should be given training in vocal music 
allowing him to develop his own style in flute and his advice probably had its 
striking results. The boy's self-evident musical talents in the garden and care of 
a musically-trained father soon began to assert and he became a sensation 
when he entered the concert stage in 1990. 

The most prolific of all Western composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was 
noted for his legendary speed of composition and at six, his piano play was a 
feat.' Many child prodigies have adorned the Indian panorama like the glittering 
Flute Mali (T.R. Mahalingam), Veena Seshanna, S.G. Kittappa, Tiruvarur 
Rajayee, Veena Gayatri, Ravi Kiran and Mandolin Srinivas. Shashank has 
joined this prestigious club now. He is reputed to have identified ragas and their 
place in the Melakarta chart at the incredible age of three! This is so much like 
Ravi Kiran, the reigning chitra veena player. His vocal training was helped by 
scholarships. His instrinsic merit was taken note of when he was provided with 
a berth by the Music Academy, Madras at an important slot during its annual 
festival. The progress of Shashank is to be watched. He plays with confidence 
and the melody of his flute is sweet. 

Concert tours : Australia, Singapore and Malaysia 1990 

Disc recordings : ICD and one cassette. 

' With punches of alluring tone and subtlety, he distils perfectly classical forms out of the 
notes of ragas, He is maturing incredibly fast', writes K.S. Mahadevan (I.E.) 

1 His concert had such a timeless serenity, enchantment and rich content as to make him 
a dazzling but not an extravagant genius', writes another. 



Place of birth : Madras 

Parents : Sangeetha Vidwan V. Rama Ayyar, a disciple of 

Melakaveri A. Ramamurty Ayyar & Mukthambal. 

Musical training : Under her father, besides 

Pallavi singing and kritis from A.R. Kannan and 
Kritis from S. Balasubramaniam. 

Qualification & 

Occupation : S.S.L.C. Employed in the All India Radio as staff artiste. 

Debut : At Chenna Malleswarar Temple, Madras on 

August 15, 1957. 

Shyamala Venkateswaran has been giving concerts at the Music Academy, 

sabhas and other institutions in India. Her concerts are well received. 


Concert tours : Mauritius 1986 

Cassette recordings : with Sulochana Pattabiraman. One individually. 

She has won prizes for proficiency from the Tamil Isai Sangam, Indian Fine 
Arts Society and Sadguru Samajam, Purasawakkam. She is 'A' grade artiste 
with All India Radio. 


Simha Bhupala was a ruler of the Rayacharla ( Racherla ) Dynasty with his 
capital at Raja$ala or Racherla. 

Ancestors : Daacaya Nayaka - Pocamamba 

Parents : Anapola or Ananta - Annamamba 

He has authored l Kuvalayavali\ a drama in Sanskrit and 
'Rasarnavasudhakara* composed in 1375 A.D. The latter work has seven 
chapters explaining sruti, swara, tana murchanas, compositions, talas, 
instruments and nartana. An excellent treatise in Sanskrit on dramaturgy, he 
follows Bharata's Natya sastra. T. Venkatacharya says that there was a 
suggestion that the work had been actually written by Visweswara, author of 
'Camatkara Chandrika' and fathered on his patron, Simha Bhupala but that it is 
not correct. V. V. Narasimhacharya says that the author had noticed the changes 
that have set in music since the days of Sarngadeva. Catura Kallinadha's 
commentary on Sangita Ratnakara titled 'Kalanidhi' came half a century later. 

Bhupala called himself 'Sahitya Kala Abhijna' and was called 'Sarvajna'. 



Sinnayya was son of Venkataraghava Advani and Tiruvangalamma, 

born at Chettipatnam in North Arcot district, 

brother of Sesha Yejwa, 

disciple of Varada Desika, 

a scholar in Sanskrit and telugu, 

an eminent musician and 

a profound composer, 

He was minister to Vijayaranga Chockanatha Naik, Madurai (1 701 - 1732). It is 
significant to note that he was the earliest ghana vidwan to be followed by Bobbili 
Kesavayya, Krishna Ayyar, Paidala Gurumurti Sastri and Gururayacharyulu. 
Sinnayya has authored 'Sasana Vijayam' full of sringara rasa. 'Ramanuja 
Charitram' is a prabhandam of his and the popular song Siva diksha paru 
ralanura' (Kurinji) is his immortal piece in wide currency. 

Titles & Honours : Bhooloka Narada 

Sarasa Vidya Visarada 
Kavi Gramani and 
Gayaka Ratna. 

His signature was 'Mannaruranga'. (There was another of the same name, 
called Tsoukam Sinnayya, a tamil vidwan of the period of Sarabhoji II and 
Shivaji II.) 

* * * 


(19th Century I half) 

Nativity : Kottaiyur in Tanjore district 

Father : Dandapani Desikhar. 

Sivakozhundu Desikhar was Asthana Vidwan in the Court of the celebrated 
Sarabhoji Raja II (1798 - 1832). He composed the 'Sarabhendra Bhupala 
Kuravanji' comprising 39 kirtanas besides others. His Kottaiyur Ula is not 
traceable. Ponniah Pillai of the celebrated Tanjore Quartette set to music 
Desikhar's Kuravanji and it was enacted first at the temple of Sri Brihadeeswara, 
Tanjore by the Tanjore Quartette. 

* * if 


COMPOSER: (1869 - April 10, 1951) 

Parents : Mahadeva Rao and Parvati. 

Learnt music under his father and tamil from Shanmugham Pillai and 
Ayyaswami Ayyar. A mahratta by birth, he learnt telugu and tamil and evinced 


ceen interest in musical discourses. Composed songs and nirupanams for 
musical discourses and they have been adopted by many artistes. For the 
>enefit of Tanjore Abraham Pandithar of 'Kamamrutha Sagara Thirattu', he 
composed nirupanams with stories from the Bible and for the Tiruvaduthurai 
^utt, he composed nirupanams on Kumaragurupara Swamigal. Though the 
amous Lavani Venkata Rao trained him in lavani, Bhagavatar's heart was set 
>n musical discourse only. 

A teacher in music and mahrathi at the Mahratta School, Tanjore, he was a 
rue patriot and composed national songs in Sanskrit, english, telugu, tamil, and 
cannada. The manuscripts are reportedly with B.M. Sundaram. Banni Bai and 
D anduranga Rao were his disciples. He was honoured in 1916 at a special 
invention called for the purpose. 


(20th Century 1 half) 

Son of Subbarama Bhagavatar, a disciple of Tyagaraja, Sivaramakrishna 
ar has the distinction of adding "many of the chitta swaras to Tyagaraja's 
jrtans". He is described as non pare/7 in swara gnana. He specialised in 
.uthentic rendition of the kirtans ensuring syllabic purity. Blind artiste Tiruvadi 
:rishna Ayyar was among his disciples. Soolamangalam Vaidyanatha 
Shagavatar pays glowing tributes to the expertise of Sivaramakrishna Ayyar. 


Place of birth : Pulivalam near Tlruvarur. 

Parents P. Pavadai Filial & Sundarambal. 

Training in mridangam Ramadas Rao, Lecturer in Mridangam, Annamalai 


In Pann Isai Tiruppamburam Sivasubramania Pillai, 

Mailam Vajravel Mudaliar & 
M.M. Dandapani Desikhar. 

Musical service ; Secretary, Muthu Thandavar Vizha, Chidambaram. 

Suddha Sanfnarga Sangham, Mayiladuthurai. 

Sivavadivelu Pillai was a freedom fighter and a 'Sangeetha Bhushanam' of 
nnamalai University. He has been honoured with the title of 'Mridanga Nadha 
ani' by Kovai Isai Mandram. He has been doing service in temples as a 
^mnodist and is well spoken of. 



(1116-1138 A.D) 

Someswara was the son of Vikramaditya of the Western Chalukya Dynasty 
with capital at Kalyani. An authority on music, he wrote the thesaurus 
'Manasollasa' or Abhilashitartha Chintamani in 1130 A.D. for enlightening and 
teaching the world. He refers to music conferences. 

' The efforts of Someswara paved the way for 
Sarngadeva, etc., to compose such encyclopaedic works. ' 

Gowri Kuppuswami & M.Hariharan. 

Manasollasa contains 8022 verses including chapters on Gitam (537 slokas) 
Vadyam (411 slokas), Nrityam (457 slokas) and musical discourse (27 slokas). 
The encyclopaedic work is a book of reference. The term 'Carnatic music' is 
traced to this work for its origin. 

S. SOWMYA - VOCALIST: (b. 1 968) 

She is studying at the I IT, Madras on a scholarship and she had held a 
cultural talent scholarship for eight years. Scholarships and prizes, she has been 
awarded most of them. Has a sweet voice, imaginative musical rendition. Her 
concerts ' reveal finished quality in preparation and performance skill in handling 
gamakas ', It is Sowmya, an upcoming artiste popular with the audience. She is 
a disciple of the late Dr. S. Ramanathan. She had given voice support to him 
and to T. Muktha. 


Born at : Nanjangud in Karnataka. 

of : Venkatanarayana Ayyarand Ranganayaki Ammal. 

Musical training under : Maternal grandfather Veena Seshanna 
Posts held : Lecturer in Veena, Bangalore University. 

Artiste, Akashvani. 

Born in a musical family, he had the benefit of his elder brother Narayana 
Ayyar being a vainika. Srikanta Ayyar is a talented artiste; his meetu is soft and 
soothing and swara exposition elegant. Had played together with 
R.K. Venkatarama Sastri as duo. 



An offspring of a musical family, Srinivasa Ayyangar initially took to flute 
under H.V. Venkataramayya but discontinued. After his Intermediate 
Examination, he passed Law at Bombay and became a Vakil in 1940. His 
musical inclinations were intact and kept in cold storage. They melted when 
hiis talented wife came forth to teach and train her spouse in veena. This led the 
couple to give joint concerts in veena like Sivanandham (a descendant of the 
Fanjore Quartette) and his wife. 

Srinivasa Ayyangar was a critic and author of articles in the magazines 
Gayana Ganga and Thai Nadu (kannada) under the pen-name 'Raja Sri' 
combining the first syllables of the names of his wife Rajalakshmi and his own. 
He served the Bangalore Gayana Samaj for twenty-two years, founded the 
<alyani Gana Nilayam and organised festivals to celebrate Tyagaraja and 
:> urandara jayantis. Was Member, State Sangit Nataka Academy too. Has 
written the biographies of musicians and translated the Akademy publication on 
Muthuswamy Dikshitar. Had given numerous concerts. 


Veenavadana Vimarsana, 

Vainika Praveena, 

Sangita Vimarsana Praveena. 

* * * * * 

The two books, A Garland and Another Garland together cover over 

a thousand artistes, 
ten thousand accompanists, sub-artistes, patrons, etc. 

a latkh of dependents and 
a million music - lovers and admirers. 

* * * 

'Deva appears to have been a practical musician as well as a great scholar and an 
legant poet; for the whole book (Sangita Ratnakard) consists of masterly couplets in 
ie melodious metre called Arya... This book alone would enable me to compose a 
realise on the Music of India. 

Sir William Jones, Founder-President, Asiatic Socitety, Calcutta. 



A genuine flower with distilled fragrance and a gem of purest ray serene born 
to blush unseen is Veena maestro Mysore Janardhana Ayyangar Srinivasa 
Ayyangar popularly known as MJS, writes G.T. Narayana Rao of Ganabharathi, 
Mysore, Father Janardhana Ayyangar (1 885 - 1 962) was a vainika and a disciple, 
of Chikka Subbaraya. He was not able to pursue the professional line since his 
landed interests would not release him from their clutches. Srinivasa Ayyangar 
was initiated to vocal but as his voice cracked at the age of eight, he took to 
veena and in 1939 came under the care of Veena Venkatagiriappa at Mysore. 
Srinivasa Ayyangar states that his guru ' was an institution, a great vainika, a 
generous host and a professional guru in the palace '. (Vide 'A Garland' "for an 
account of Venkatagiriappa.) 

Srinivasa Ayyangar alludes to the manner of training he had thus : 

' There was no question of our guru instructing anyone of us individually, By constantly 
attending to him, watching him playing veena, imbibing the technique and spirit and later 
feverishly practising them at home until I was anywhere near the periphery of the 
master's vast empire... ' 

Renowned artistes like Prof. R.N. Doreswamy, V. Doreswamy and 
V. Desikachar were some of the trainees with him. MJS was influenced by the 
styles of vocal maestros Ariyakudi, GNB and Alathur in shaping his style to be 
as close as possible to vocal rendition clearly delineating the course of the 
sahitya, Among his disciples figure A.S. Padma, M.K. Saraswati and 
M.K. Jayasri Prasad. 


A Graduate in Arts of the Madras University, Srinivasachariar was a teacher 
in the National Brahma Gnana College, Adyar and was devoted to the 
propagation of Classical music. He published the book 'Sangita Sarvartha 
Chintamanf containing fifteen varnas and kirtanas of eminent composers, 

* * * 

Nerur is the place sanctified by the immortality of Sadasiva Brahmendral; 
and Srinivasachariar hailed from that village. A disciple of Namakkal Narasimha 
Ayyangar, he was a vocalist-cum-violinist. He has composed in tamil (and some 
in Sanskrit and telugu) gitams, swarajatis, varnams, kritis, padams, tillanas and 
javalis. Perhaps he was the first to compose in tamil Pancharatnas, Navaratri 
Kirtanas, Navagraha Kirtanas and songs on ' Nature '. His songs have been 
praised by distinguished men, 


Some of his compositions were published in 1 943 under the title ' Sri Ranga 
Gana Sudhadayam' with an introduction by the eminent musicologist 
T.V. Subba Rao. Srinivasachariar has also set to tune slokas of the revered 
Sri Vedanta Desikha in 'Sankalpa Suryodayam', etc. Keertanacharya 
C.R. Srinivasa lyengar wrote on 27th December, 1931, 'in point of range and 
depih, he occupies the very first place... Verily a large bid for recognition and 
appreciation'. He taught music at the Lady Wellingdon Training College, 
Madras. Mysore Palace vidwans Sharma Brothers were among his disciples. 


Parentage : Venkatachariar & Shenbagavalii. 

Education & Training : Trichy National College High School - General studies 
in Music Got Sangeetha Bhushanam diploma from the 

Annamalai University in 1933, with Sabhesa Ayyar and 
Ponniah Filial being his distinguished professors. 

Posts held 

Music Teacher, Sri Ramakrishna High School, T. Nagar. (1 938-1 942) 

Headmaster, Tamilisai School, Devakottai (1 942-1 947) 

Teacher in Music, Oriental Sanskrit School, West Mambalam, Madras. 

Titles & Honours : 

Tamil Veda Gana Sikhamani with Gold Medal by V.V. Srinivasa Ayyangar 

at Devakottai 

Honoured by Rajah Sir Annamalai Chettiar 
Sangita Ratnakara by Mysore Parakala Mutt Jeer 
Isaikadal by Karaikudi Tamilisai Sangham in 1990. 
Honoured by the Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar Trust in 1991 . 

A born teacher with a rich repertoire of songs in tamil, Srinivasachari has set 
tunes to Kamba Ramayana verses, etc. and has given a concert of those songs 
alone before a distinguished gathering comprising Rajendra Prasad, Rajaji, 
Kalki and T.K.Chidambaranatha Mudaliar. He is the guiding spirit behind the 
activities of Sri Sat Guru Samajam, Purasawakkam, Sai Samaj, Mylapore, 
Terezhandur Veda Sabha and Sri Ramanjaneya Temple Committee, Tambararn 
Sanatorium, The great occasion in his life was the opportunity to give a concert 
with Pudukottai Narayanaswami on violin, Karaikudi Muthu Ayyar on mridangam 
and Devakottai Sundararaja Ayyangar on kanjira for the Sashtiabthapoorti of the 
great maestro, Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar. 



Place of birth : Gowribidanur in Kolar district. 

Father : Srinivasachariar 

Tirumalai revealed musical instincts in abundance even as a boy and learnt 
much by hearing gramaphone records. Joined the Sanskrit College, Bangalore. 
Had his musical lessons at the LN. Narayanaswamy Gurukula for twelve years. 

When he started on his professional concerts, he was taken as the Asthana 
Vidwan by the Gadwal Court in 1946. Later he joined in 1953 Chowdiah's 
Ayyanar College, Bangalore. He was also with the institution Vijaya Sangeetha 
of Narayanaswamy Bhagavatar 


Started with vocal music but switched over to veena, the special favourite of 
many Karnataka musicians. Srinivasamurty had his training under his father R.K. 
Keshavamurty and brother R.K. Suryanarayanan. 

Title: Bharata Vainika Ratna by Parthasarathy Gana Sabha. 

Prof. R. SRINIVASAN - MUSICOLOGIST: (Septr. 21, 1887 - May 2, 1975) 

Born at musical Lalgudi amidst its melody-soaked fields, groves and 
gardens, Prof. R. Srinivasan had a distinguished academic career: 

- MA having taken the first rank in the University both in B.A. and in MA ; 

- had worked as Assistant Professor for a short period even while studying; and 

- was Professor, Head of Department of Mathematics during 1 925- 1 937 and 

- Principal, Science College, Tnvandrum during "1937-38 and 1941-42. 

Son of Ramanujam who was attached to the famous Srirangam shrine and 
Valambal, Srinivasan was not a mere Professor in Mathematics but was a 
multi-faceted man of learning and culture, actor, playwright, story-teller, poet and 
musician. While his teaching career spanned 1910-1942, music was his 
permanent and favourite field of expertise and endeavours. He gave harikathas, 
organised festivals and conferences and took a prominent part in founding the 
Swati Tirunal Academy and Sabha at Trivandrum. 

He had contributed many articles on music, had composed the plays 
1 Meerabai ' and ' Susheela ' and authored the work ' Facets of Indian Culture '. 

Srinivasan's varied interests are reflected in the posts he had held 


First Scout Commissioner, Travancore State 
Honorary Director, Travancore Radio Station 

Chairman / Member of Committees of South Indian Universities on Mathematics and 

Fine Arts. 

Member, Central Advisory Committee for Music 
Adviser to the Government of Ceylon on programmes for Radio Ceylon 
Member, Experts Committee of the Music Academy, Madras /Trivandrum and 
was connected with Kalakshetra, Madras. 

A theosophist, he was the fulcrum and focus of musical activities at 

Trivandrum. His primary interest centred round the three 'M's - Music, 

Mathematics and Mysticism. Plato insisted on a knowledge of mathematics and 

music for admission to his school; Prof. Srinivasan is an instance of Plato's type 

; of scholar. 


Parents: D. Rangachariar and Kaiaimamani Tanjore Andalammal, 

a bharata natyam artiste. 

T.R. Srinivasan had his training under Kuttalam S. Sivavadivel Pillai from the 
age of twelve under gurukulavasa. In 1945, he made his debut at Tanjore as 
accompanist to his sisters Lakshmi and Gowri. Had further advanced training 
under Palani Subrarnania Pillai. He has provided accompaniment to senior 
vidwans like Chittoor Subramania Pillai, T.-R. Mahalingam, Madurai Mani Ayyar 
and Madurai Sonrtu. Has provided percussion accompaniment to prominent 
danseuses. Was appointed as Lecturer in the Government Music College in 
1 972. He had demonstrated special features in percussion. Was honoured with 
the title of ' Kaiaimamani ' by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 
(1984). Has trained quite a large number of disciples. 


A. Srinivasaraghavan is a Bachelor of Commerce who had his initial training 
in music with Kumbakonam Souri Ayyangar, a disciple of Maha Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar. When he joined the Annamalai University, he had music with mathematics 
(Plato formula )and physics for Part III. He became an ardent disciple of 
G.N. Balasubramaniam later and was with him till G.N.B. left for Trivandrum to 
join Sri Swati Tirunal Academy of Music. Srinivasaraghavan has been giving 
concerts at important sabhas in India. His first concert at the Music Academy 
was in 1961 and in that year got the TV. Subba Rao Memorial Prize for junior 
vocalists. He mentions that he had given a concert before the former President, 
Dr. S. Radhakrishnan at the Rashtrapathi Bhavan. He enjoys a free style. 



One of the senior Haridasas of Karnataka and perhaps the foremost among 
them, Sripadaraya had left compositions which are in chaste and lucid language 
for easy assimilation by the lay public. It is stated that only some of his padas 
have been retrieved. ' Raghupati ' is his signature. Narahari Tirtha who started 
the Dasakoota line of devotees was his disciple. Sripadaraya is one of the senior 
Haridasas of Karnataka, and perhaps the foremost among them. 

Sripadaraya's period is also mentioned around 1500 A.D. 

* * * 


Perhaps the 'Parasuram Quintet' is unique in presenting a family ensemble 

Parvati Parasuram, the mother and vocalist and her children 
Sriram on violin, 

Vishwanath on mridangam, 

Narayan on ghatam and 

Meenakshi as vocal. 

A Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and an M.B.A., Sriram is also a 
Master of Music- Violin Performance of the School of Music, University of Akron, 
Ohio. He is now pursuing Ethnomusicology at the Wesleyan University. The finer 
and noteworthy aspect of his career is that Sriram with his professional 
qualifications has taken to music as a profession contrary to the prevailing 
practice, where music is ancillary or incidental to one's profession. While doing 
a statutory stint at Citibank for his MBA, he took the conscious decision - 

1 It just was not what I wanted to spend my time on. In any case I would have to quit a 
bank job within the first few years, To study music at the academic level was my own 
conscious and personal decision. I wanted a new dimension to my art . ' 

Training : 

Violin under Ramakrishna Sarma 

Vocal and Violin under K.S. Narayanaswamy and V, Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar. 

Hindustani music under Pandit C.R. Vyas. 

Having made his debut at the age of eight, Sriram has so far given over eight 
hundred solo recitals in In'dia and abroad worthy of a Bradman and Dennis 
Compton in cricket He has been providing accompaniment to distinguished 
musicians also. He enjoys the distinction of 'A' grade both in Carnatic and 
Hindustani systems with All India Radio. His recitals have been extensively 
covered by the media and commended for soothing tuneful music and for the 
rhwthm and hautv of his olav. His vocal training has given him the 


The academic exposure at Akron is claimed to have taught him a new way 
of movement in handling the violin and analytical finesse. Dr, Sulochana 
Rajendran, Editor, ' Shanmukha ' writes: 

I His play was reposeful Carnatic music, a composite melodic essay, each of the phases 
like aiapana, kriti and kalpanaswaras filling in its lot with a subtlety, a freshness OT 
approach and of articulation. ' 

Awards : 

President of India Gold Medal. 1 981 

1 Young Musician ' title from Music Academy, Madras. 1 983 
1 Surrnani ' by Sur-Singar Samsad, Bombay. 
Ustad Amir Khan Memorial Award by Kala Sangam, Calcutta. 

Album recordings: 

* * * 


(1904 -) 

One of the erstwhile senior vidwans in the traditional style, Srirangam 
Ayyangar was an accomplished master in rare ragas and pallavi, The former 
Chief Justice of Madras, M. Anantanarayanan wrote: 

II His mastery of sruti, laya and swara had a depth, an assurance and a rich and vibrant 
voice which were compelling... It was impossible not to be deeply impressed; usic * 
imagination of that quality is rare... A mere grammar of music does not sutnce TO 
distinguish Durbar and Nayaki. To my delight, the vidwan sang the little known Di/roar 
kriti 'Endundi Vedalithivo ' with swara prastara and immediately sang pallavi in NayaKi. 
The contours were utterly different. ' 

Note : The confusion or the subtle distinction between Durbar and Nayaki has been 
availed of by Tyagarajah in the song Endundi Vedalithivo as he avers, ' I am at a loss 
to guess even your nativity and whence you have come '. Just as the listener wants 10 
know whether it is Durbaror A/ayafr/the musician is handling, Tyagaraja too asks, Pray, 
let me know it at least now 1 . The aptness of the raga for a song which raises many 
doubts is to be noted." 

Born in 1904 at Madurai as the third son of Rangaswami Ayyangar and 
Lakshmi Ammal, Srirangam Ayyangar underwent regular gurukulavasa under 
the renowned musician Namakkal Pallavi Narasimha Ayyangar. Made his debut 
at the age of fourteen at the Srirangam temple. Had a three-decade long 
successful career giving concerts with his brother Srinivasa Ayyangar as 
'Madurai Brothers'. The Shatkala Pallavi he rendered at Kalakshetra with Mani 
Ayyar is recorded as a ' remarkable feat '.(NRB). On the demise of his brother 
he gave up concerts and was giving tuitions only. R. Vedavalli, who had her 
training under him at Mannargudi, pays a rich tribute to him and says, He 
would come in a self-driven single bullock-cart... he took me as a disciple. 
Certainly he did it not for money. He was a great man... When I think of him I 
experience spiritual exhilaration. He would not like lessons to be reduced to 
writing. All was oral.' 


Honours and titles: 

Tamil Nadu Sangita Nataka Sangham Award 

Central Sangit Natak Akademy Award , 1 966. 

Sangita Kalanidhi by Music Academy, Madras in 1 969. 

K. SRIVATSA - MRIDANGIST: (b.August 18, 1948) 


Training in 

General qualification 

Post held 
Disc recordings 

R. Krishnan & Saraswati 

Under Palani Subramania Pillai and PA Venkataraman 



Accompanied Sangita Kalanidhi Alathur Srinivasa Ayyar 
on 22 09 1966 at Tiruchirapalli. 

A.I.R. Staff Artiste since 1984. 
Accompanied M. Chandrasekharan and 

B. Rajam Ayyar on kanjeera. 

Has been providing competent accompaniment to prominent artistes. 

* * * 

Subbanna, a contemporary of Seshanna, adorned the Mysore Durbar galaxy 
of musicians. 'He was a more substantial and serious-minded exponent of the 
veena. But he was an introvert lacking in push and enterprise, though he enjoyed 
the respect and esteem of the better-informed', wrote R. Rangaramanuja 

Mysore Vasudevacharya writes that Subbanna's generosity was 
extravagant, (The account of his liberal extravagance and inability to say 'No' 
leaves one to thank God that Subbanna was fortunately born a male!) He was 
born rich and lived like a benevolent, cultured prince. 

' AGandharva elegant in taste and always cheerful. He was quite frugal in eating while 
luxurious dishes were all reserved for his guests! Smartly dressed, he was extremely 
fond of flowers and scents. When he moved out, his approach would be announced a 
furlong ahead by the fragrance wafted across by breeze ! ' 

Gopalakrishna Bharati would leave his remuneration with his patrons as 
deposits and, though wretchedly poor himself, used to issue cheques on 
palmyrah leaves to those in need to take such deposits from the patron-banks. 
Even so, when Subbanna was in his last days in distress, he would give a note 
to take his own stipend from the Durbar Bakshi ! Surely he was a modern Kama ! 
How ? Here Vasudevacharya confirms: 


' Even when his fortune dwindled away and life became hard, Subbanna continued 
to be generous. One of his dependents had been promised financial assistance for 
a marriage in his house. Subbanna had none left with him. He called his wife 
Namagiriyamma to hand over the gold belt (oddiyanam) she was wearing. The 
gracious wife swiftly complied with it. ' 

If Kama parted with his life-saving breast plate, Subbanna couple parted with 
the gold belt that was left with them! The ambrosial aspect of this episode lies 
in that the honourable couple were made for each other and their lives exemplify 
the concept of Ardhanarishwara each half finding rhythm in the other. And when 
Vasudevacharya dedicated his kirtana Rarajeevalochana Rama (Mohanam) to 
Subbanna who brought him up, the noble Kannadiga gave vent to a gospel truth: 

1 Acharya! It is my misfortune that I am listening to this kirtana when my hands are empty. 
It is good in a way, I should say. If creative art is to blossom forth into a lovely flower, 
may be, the artist should go hungry. ' 

" This man is freed from servile bands 
Of hope to rise or fear to fall; 
Lord of himself, though not of lands; 
And having nothing, yet hath all. " - Sir Henry Wotton. 

Chamaraja Wodeyar, the ruler of Mysore used to take Mysore 
Vasudevacharya and Subbanna to his camps. Once the two vidwans were 
allotted a small, inconvenient tent by officials and their protests went unheeded, 
Taking it as a challenge, Vasudeva gave a thick coat of sandal paste on 
Subbanna's forehead and covering themselves with shawls both met the ruler 
pretending to be ill. To the royal query, Vasudeva replied that damp conditions 
in the tent had led to their illness and 'caused concern not so much for 
themselves but for their musical instruments !' Immediate royal concern and 
solicitude for their health were revealed in their being provided with fresh tent, 
cots and other comforts. Once in the Nilgiris, Subbanna fell very sick. The 
Maharaja himself took up the nursing and persuaded Subbanna to take porridge 
saying, Subbu, You must not starve like this. You must drink this. It acts like a 
JSinn 8 -? " 2 the t starved stomach...' Subbanna took it, but suddenly vomited 
spffling it on the ruler himself. Gently wiping it off, Chamaraja said, 'Call me if 

iIIn H k / he P rridge '' Royal concern was so affectionately 
? * 6 *^ d transcendental - Chamaraja reminds us the ancient 
, r 9 J eSt n the r y al couch *nd entering on deep slumber. 

Wnde ed urtH^ H*^" 9 fV* 01 S ' eepin9 fans him lest " is 
hindered. Such deeds elevate human thoughts and actions without doubt! 

- Surasena", remarked Prof. 
Bidaram Krishnappa acted as 


Dushtabuddhi and fisherman. Unique and sublime indeed was the cultural 
atmosphere at Mysore then. 'Only after the Maharaja was fully satisfied during 
rehearsal, a drama was allowed to be enacted before the public.' 

(Source: K. Vasudevacharya.) 


Mooguru is the village in T. Narasapur taluk where Subbanna, a 
contemporary of Mysore Sadasiva Rao was born. His voice was gruff and harsh 
initially but with determination, yogabhyasa and sadhaka, his voice attained 
acceptability... Clearly, he was a kannada counterpart of Konerirajapuram 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar in this respect. Veena Shamanna and Andalanoor Subbiah 
were his gurus - the latter being credited with the preparation of written notation 
for Kshetragna padas. Subbanna was giving a large number of concerts, 
composed swarajatis, varnas and kirtanas. Mysore Vasudevacharya writes that 
Subbanna had done a lasting service to music and that even renowned Veena 
Seshanna and Subbarayaru had gone to Subbanna for learning his 
compositions and for discussions. Subbarayaru called him, a Mahavidwan and 
an Ajatashatru. Subbanna made it a point to go to the famous sahitya vidwan, 
Garalapuri Sastry of Sosale for getting the correct significance of sahitya. 

Subbanna sang with rasabhava and his music had 'a divine appeal'. His 
unfailing humility and deep devotion to music were famous. He was affectionate 
to children calling them Devaru and Siva, He always kept two tamburas tuned 
up fifteen minutes in advance for concerts like Bikshandarkoil Subbarayar. He 
was particular about the audience maintaining silence at concerts like 
Gottuvadyam Sakharama Rao. Poverty did not wither his amiability or shake his 
faith in Nadopasana since Tyagaraja has said that Sankara, Narayana and 
Brahma had attained their distinctive glory only through \i.(Nadopasanache - 
Begada raga.) 


A musician dedicated to Nadopasana, Subbarama Ayyar found his musical 
expertise and talents useful to pursue his spiritual endeavours, A strange 
incident confirmed his conviction and resolve to direct his music to devotion. He 
used to take his ablutions in the adjacent river Mudicondan at pre - dawn daily, 
as usual with all villagers till a decade back and wash his clothes by thrashing 
them on the granite slab kept for the purpose, again as is usual in villages. One 
day, he thought that he got a command with the word 'Thiruppu' (turn), as he 
was waking up. He could not understand it. After his ablutions, haunted by the 
word 'Thiruppu', quite by a flash of thought and impulse, he turned the granite 


he and others had used for years. Lo ! it was the idol of Lord Vinayaka Himself; 
and Ayyar and others had thrashed on His back so long and stood over it for 
years! Overcome by remorse over the sacrilege, he constructed a temple for it 
and it is now the Therku Veedhi Pillayar ' in the village. Ayyar had been 
honoured by many for his chaste music. And Vinayaka had ignored the violent 
deeds as innocent and childish! 

He composed kirtans, padams and varriams and his sons Subbarayar, 
Mangaleswaran and Ganapati were all musicians. The last was guru to 
Tiruvidaimarudur Bhavani, then a famous lady artiste. Mangaleswaran's 
descendants were Vaidyanatha Ayyar, pioneering author of 'Book-Keeping and 
Accounts' text book, V. Sundaram Ayyar of Mylapore and Rajam - Balachander 


* * * 


Place of birth 

Preceptor in music 
Post held 

Institution founded 
Honour conferred 

Patagonahalli, Tumkur district 


Puttappa, violinist-uncle. 

Thirteenth year 

Lecturer at Ram Mandira, Mysore. (Institution founded by 

Bidaram Krishnappa) 1940 

College of Carnatic Music, Bangalore in 1 937 
Sangeet Natak Academy ( Karnataka) Award 1 963, 

An erudite scholar noted for his absorbing and enlightened lectures. 

A. SUBBA RAO - VOCALIST: (b.1923) 

Place of birth : Mysore. 

Parents : Anantarama Rao and Saradamma. 

Musical training Bidaram Krishnappa, Lakshmidas Rao, 

under : Chikka Rama Rao. 

Qualification : Intermediate (Collegiate) 

Institutions founded or associated with: 

Gana Kala Bharati - founded by him. 
Gana Kala Parishat - General Secretary. 
State Sangit Natak Academy - President. 
Member, Bangalore University Senate. 

Titles & Honours : 

Gana Sudhakara By the Pontif of Sosula Math 

Gana Kala Tilaka in 1972 

Gana Kala Bhushana in 1980 


The Government of Karnataka honoured A. Subba Rao in 1 981 . His style of 
rendition is traditional and pleasing. Is endowed with a melodious voice. He has 
played a prominent part in musical endeavours in Karnataka. 

B. SUBBA RAO - MUSICOLOGIST: (1894 - 1975) 

Place of birth : Basavapatnam, Hassan district 

B. Subba Rao started his training in music in his sixth year under his brother 
and brother-in-law. At Nagpur, where he entered service later as an assistant in 
the Agricultural Department, he not only enhanced his vidwat in Carnatic music 
but learnt Hindustani music. Was a Member of the Karnataka State Sangit Natak 

Subba Rao was giving numerous lectures and presenting articles on music. 
'Raga Nidhi', a valuable contribution of his, has been published in four volumes 
by the Music Academy, Madras. He invented the instrument 'Chitravati' which 
could be played as a veena or as a gottuvadyam. 

Title: Uthama Gayana Visaradha by the Ruler of Mysore. 


Place of birth: Ratnagiri in Tumkur district. 

Father: NageswaraSastri, violinist. 

Subba Sastri had his lessons under his father and attended the Sanskrit 
Patasala, Mysore in 1927. In 1930 he switched over to the use of the 
seven-stringed violin under the guidance of Vennai Raja Rao. He was a 
teacher from 1939 at the Mahila Seva Sanga High School, Bangalore. As an 
accompanist, he brought forth his rich talents and satisfying presentation. 


A trend-setter, Subburayaswami belonged to Ambasamudram on the bank 
of River Tambaraparni (extolled by Muthuswami Dikshitar in his Sri 
Kanthimathim in raga Desi Simharava as 'suddha Tambraparni tatasthitam' - 
Sri Kanthimathi who has taken up her abode on the bank of Tambraparni river 
with its crystal clear waters). Was a head constable. He has composed 108 
couplets called kill kanni addressed as songs of love from a lovelorn damsel. 
The songs were popular. 



Grandson of Narayana and son of Kavi Chakravarti Sridhara and Subhadra, 
Subhankara had four sons bynames Devakinandana, Rajasekhara, Susenaand 
Damodara. It is surmised that the first two and the second two sons might have 
been by different wives. Subhankara has authored 'Sangita Damodara 1 besides 
another called MuktavalL He quotes Sangita Ratnakara and Sangita Chudamani 
and his work is quoted by others as an authority. The work Sangita Damodara 
contains five chapters dealing with music, dance, and drama. The work has been 
published by the Sanskrit College, Calcutta in 1960 with Gourinatha Sastri and 
another as editors. It is said that the work had not been well arranged by the 
author. It is a collection from ancient works cited by him. 'His attempt to explain 
music and dramaturgy as originating from Krishna is novel as others had 
attributed them only to Lord Shiva.' This may be due to his hailing from Bengal 
where Vaishnava influence predominated. Quite a lot of information is given like: 

Bhavas giving rise to enduring rasas number 9 

to fleeting rasas number 33 and 
to ennobling rasas number 8 

Moods of lovers 1 2 
Sakhis 3 

Go-betweens 12 
Nayakas 4 etc. 


(June 26, 1906-) 

1934 at Chidambaram, the scene of Cosmic Dance. The deity was being 
taken in procession along the streets. The nagaswara vidwan went on giving 
thrilling rendition from 10 p.m. till dawn. S.' Ramanathan states: 

1 Started with mallari in Nattai. Then a very elaborate alapana of Kiravani followed by 
thanam and pallavi which lasted for four hours. The pallavi included a ragamalika. Then 
camekritis,.. ' 

It was Subramania Pillai who was noted for his sweet rendition and was a 
popular vidwan. He had his training under Tiruvenkadu Samithurai Pillai. He is 
credited to be the first nagaswara vidwan to be conferred with a doctorate by 
the Tamil University - to be followed by Sheikh Chinna Moulana and 
Namagiripettai Krishnan. His period saw a galaxy of nagaswara stalwarts hailing 
from Tiruvaduthurai, Tiruvizhimalalai, Tiruvidaimarudur, etc. 

Disc recordings : 

Concert tour: Sri Lanka and Malaysia. 


A. SUBRAMANIAM - VEENA ARTISTE: (b. Deer. 4, 1913) 

Place of birth : Harikesanallur, Tirunelveli dt. 

Parents : Violinist AppaAyyar and Valliammal. 

Musical training Father Appa Ayyar 

under : Prof. Gomati Sankara Ayyar of Annamalai University & 

Harikesanallur Gayakasikhamani 

L, Muthiah Bhagavatar. 

Subramaniam has provided veena for background orchestral music with 
his brother Gottuvadyam A. Narayana Ayyar for the films 'Chintamani', etc. Was 
veena teacher at the Delhi Carnataka Sangita Sabha and Lecturer in Veena 
during 1964-1974 at the Benares Hindu University. 


a. Geetha Prabhanda Malai 

b. Apoorva kirtanas of Patnam Subramania Ayyar (1961) and 

c. 72 Melakartas of Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar (1 964) 

He had indexed two thousand kirtanas of many composers for Tamil Nadu 
Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram. 


11 Who among these will beat the drum ? 
How, if he beat it, will he beat ? 

cxxxii Atharva Veda. 

Initially started training under his father Arumugham Pillai in nagaswaram 
and then switched over to tavil under his brother Palanivel. Making his debut at 
the age of sixteen, A.R. Subramaniam reached the top by 1964 with his 
exceptional talents. His remarkable fingering techniques and patterns and his 
ability to bring out intricate variations and subtle nuances in rhythm soon made 
him out as a laya maestro among the tavil vidwans of the last quarter of this 
century. He added new dimensions to tavil play by providing accompaniment to 
the solos of Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, violinist and Mandolin Srinivas. Drawing 
inspiration from the all-time prodigy Palghat Mani Ayyar, Subramaniam is a 
creative collaborator in interpreting music through rhythm in tavil. He has had 
3442 concerts upto 1 990 - which is by any standard a colossal figure - a veritable 
Kapil Dev in percussion! He provides rhythm unruffled and his style of rendition 
is different from that of Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram and others of his 
style. Subramaniann's forte is pleasing sound and not strength and vibrancy. 
He is like the Krishnans in tennis and not the dynamos Courier or Ivanisevic. 


Titles & Honours: 

Kalaimamani from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 

State Artiste, Tamil Nadu Government 

Sangita Natak Akademy Award 

Isai Perarignar from the Tamil Isai Sangham, Madras 1 990, 

being the first tavildar to receive the honour. 

Concert tours : Europe, USA in 1 985 
Disc recordings: 

' A.R. Subramaniam opines that double nagaswaram play had probably 
started during the days of Tiruppamburam Brothers and Tiruvizhimalalai 
Brothers about fifty to seventy years back (it should be older still)with the 
percussion genius Needamangalam Meenakshisundaram Pillai and Nachiarkoil 
Raghava Pillai presenting their exhilarating, competitive rendition. Jackwood 
from dry areas like Pudukottai, Panruti and Jaffna provide the best quality wood 
for tavil according to Subramaniam. He arranged for an experimental 
combination of bharata natyam with nagaswaram and tavil for music and rhythm 
calling it 'Nadamum Natyamurn'and presented it recently. 

M.S. SUBRAMANIAM - PERCUSSIONIST: (b January 19, 1935) 

Place of birth : Mayiladuthurai. 

Training in Tavil under grandfather Tlllaiyadi A. Srinivasa Pillai, 

Percussion under : Kuttalam Ramiah Pillai, Koorainadu P. Palanivel Pillai. 

Mridangam under : Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai and 

Ramnad Murugabhoopati Pillai. 

Kanjeera under : Pudukottai Swaminatha Pillai. 

Debut : At the age of nine. 

Has provided tavil to most of the eminent nagaswara artistes. Has 
accompanied on mridangam and kanjeera Madurai Somu (Somasundaram 
Pillai), T.M. Theagarajan, etc. Has been teacher in mridangam at the 
Government Music College (now Training Centre), Madras. 

Concert tour : Europe 1964. 

* * * 


Here is an account of T.R. Subramanyam by B.V.K, Sastry: 

' He is a musician with a difference... He is one of the few musicians who received 
training in colleges and proved their mettle on the concert stage... He evaluates art 
from different angles... While he is popular with the cognocenti as an imaginative 
and innovative artiste, purists feel that he is unconventional if not unorthodox... In 


one of the conferences in Bangalore years back, an idea was being tossed about - what 
would be the audience reaction if a conceit is presented in the reverse? This implied 
instead of starting the concert with the customary varnam, salutation to Ganapati, etc., 
to start from the concluding Mangalam working way back to varnam. Finally to obviate 
a sort of shock to the purists, T.R.S. started with a penultimate item - javali. ' 

Son of Rajagopala Ayyar and Alamelu, T.R. Subramanyam was born at 
Tiruvidaimarudur, noted for its great temple and cultural environments. 
Bodhendra-Ayyaval meets used to take place here. Sakharama Rao, 
gottuvadyam maestro and RS. Veeruswami Pillai, nagaswaram perfectionist 
were here. Semmangudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar, Veena Narayana Ayyangar and 
Gottuvadyam Narayana Ayyangar had their training here. The soil and waters of 
Tiruvidaimarudur are saturated with music. Rajagopala Ayyar was a sincere 
promoter of Madurai Mani Ayyar and C.S. Krishna Ayyar. As concerts then were 
not many, ' I had to listen to each and everyone lest my father should beat me ! ' , 
says T.R.S. He had his general education at Mayuram, Tirunelveli and 
Vijayawada.and is an M.A.(Lit). 

Musical training with : 

Sivarama Ayyar of Mayuram, A.D. Rajagopala Ayyar of Tirunelveli, 
Gavai Sitarama Bhagavatar and D.S. Mani Bhagavatar of Perungulam. 

He had his diploma from the Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras. On 
his training with the masters at the Central College, T.R.S. has many interesting 
episodes and opinions to give. Here are some; 

1 Many of the teachers and students did not then have general education and he was 
thus very much in demand to write even leave letters.. Pallavi rendition in those days 
was taken as one that landed the artiste on the moon. In those days, the Government 
went to the artistes,. .Swaminatha Pillai of Tiruppamburam complained against me and 
frustrated, I left for Trivandrum but was brought back by Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar... I 
complained to the Principal on the inadequate teaching and non- completion of the 
syllabus, Musiri agreed to postpone the examination. Pallavi training was below 
mark.. .What I could do easily, the teachers then took a much longer time... I had no 
gurukulavasa and it has its advantages and disadvantages. ' 

' As there was dearth of artistes , the All India Radio was then hunting for musicians. My 
father took me to the AIR station and there he was humming, as I was having my audition. 
AIR forced him too to sing! We both sang! That was the paradox of the day ! ' 

TRS holds fast to certain ideas and values, as for instance : 

There is now more search for applause. 1 

'Music is but one more source of occupation.' 

'I am prepared to go anywhere if it is remunerative/ 

Youth seeks songs and not deep learning in music.' 

1 went on storing music, though I was a salesman earlier. 5 


'Many are interested in projecting themselves rather than their learning.' 
They rarely understand that music is a subject of sounds and not of words.' 

'Deterioration is clear when third rate people shout Pancharatna kritis at 

Tiruvaiyaru. 1 

1 His distinctive style of singing and his distinctive ideas on music have both 
earned for him and his disciples the sobriquet of " Delhi Gharana 11 of Carnatic 
music/ Sruti. 

T.R. Subramanyam has composed varnas, etc. 
Honours & Titles: 

Mahamahopadhyaya by the Akil Bharatiya Gandharva Mahavidyalaya Mandal. 
Sangita Kalanidhi by the Kannada Koota, New York. 
Sanglta Choodamani. 

Posts held : 

Lecturer, Central College of Carnatic Music, Madras. 

Reader, Delhi University for about 26 years. 

Hony Director, Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya, New Delhi. 

Prior to taking up the posts, he had been with prominent companies like 
Binnys and Estrella. This exposure to industrial and commercial bodies might 
have exercised its own influence on his distinct approach to men and matters. 

There was a queer development during November-December 1991 in his 
career. His disciple Radha Venkatachalam is said to have submitted a thesis 
captioned 'Epoch Makers of the Recent Past in the field of Carnatic Music' to 
the Gandharva Maha Vidyalaya containing copious 'comments sourced - if 
indirectly - to TRS... to slander numerous personalities connected with music 1 . 
The magazine 'Sruti'ln its issue no.86 brought out in extenso extracts taking 
objection to a prominent musician and musicologist playing such a regrettable 
part in the condemnable episode. It would appear that the Federation of Sabhas, 
Madras objected to the role of T.R. Subramanyam. Consequently his concerts 
scheduled for December 1991 at Madras did not take off though he was present 
in his usual sartorial perfection. In fact the first announcement was made by 
him! The music festival then current gave wide currency to the development. 
Subramaniam affirmed that he had the best of regards to most of the musicians 
derided in the thesis but that did not carry much weight; 



(Deer. 24, 1924 - Septr. 1989) 

By chance, the author stepped into Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Madras with 
the genial musician ,S. Rajam and it proved to be a pleasant, satisfying 
experience to hear the top T.V. Sankaranarayanan singing the compositions in 
chaste Sanskrit and tamil of Sundaraja (Parvati Srinivasan) to the delight of the 
audience. The compositions were simple in diction, elegant in their thematic 
perception and appeal and measured in sahitya like those of Papanasam Sivan 
to provide the musician ample scope to bring out the soul of the song and the 
raga and the beauty and message of the sahitya. The notation has been 
embellished by Jayalakshmi Sundararajan, Nila Srinivasan, Charumati 
Ramachandran and V. Subramanian. The name ' Sundaraja' is a pious tribute 
to the father of the composer, Parvati Srinivasan. 

Father: N. Sundaram Ayyar of Ottapalem, Advocate, freedom 

fighter and Bhoodan donor. He was one of the earnest, 
dedicated followers of Vinobhaji and he donated his 
entire landed assets of 47 acres ! 

General Qualification: B.A., B.Ed., 

Musical Training under: Desamangalam Subramanya Bhagavatar and 

MA Kalyanakrishna Bhagavatar. 

Publications: 'Gananjali' containing 52 songs fully notated. 

A good veena player and a good writer, Sundaraja had a flair for social work 
and the trust started to honour her memory carries on the noble task. 


(1884 -October 1927) 

' Simizhi Sundaram Ayyar is one of the eminent vidwans whom Fame failed to honour/ 

Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar. 

' An extraordinary genius of superb talents and scholarship. His very breath was music. 
With an alert mind and restless energy, he gathered the treasures of the Golden Age. 
He was a veritable encyclopaedia in rhythm and melody. His resource was amazing. 
His repertoire was colossal. His knowledge of tradition was profound. An ekasan- 
dagrahi, he was a typical votary of Carnatic music, dedicated, versatile, immersed in 
Nadopasana, indifferent to praise and blame, rooted in vairagya. His keen insight in sruti 
values that determined the individuality and melodic structure and swaras enabled him 
to visualise them as concrete bodies.' 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 

Sundaram Ayyar had a flair for research. Dame Luck turned not its attention 
on him but went after ' hidebound cranks with closed minds and cramped vision '. 
The repository of the Legacy of the Golden Age commanded respect and esteem 
among the knowledgeable but history could not make up its mind to give him the 


appropriate recognition, If there was one most deserving during his period for 
Meritorious Recognition and Popularity, it was he. Yet he was praised but the 
world forgot to act further; he was a colossus in melody and wisdom but was 
left in the dust ! 

If Manambuchavadi Venkatasubba Ayyar had the credit of moulding the 

'Pancha Ratnas' (five gems of eminent musicians), Simizhi had his 

disciple-gems in Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar, Tiruvarur Rajayee, 

Mayavaram Rajam, Flautist Rajarama Ayyar, Mayavaram Govindaraja Filial and 

Harmonist S.S. Mani, Veena Balachander, Rangaramanuja Ayyangar and 

Papanasam Sivan were among the many who were inspired by him and it was 

he who gave the honorific Tamil Tyagaraja 5 to Papanasam Sivan, Was a tireless 

worker in productive endeavours and he never wasted time. Sundaram Ayyar 

had a grand personality. In contrast to his sober, calm, humble later years, he 

was called 'scorpion' while young. He was born in an ocean of melody. Brother 

K.V. Rajarama Ayyar was a flautist and another brother K.V. Venugopala Ayyar 

was a violinist. Times were not propitious then lest the brothers should have 

presented the world with the best of ensembles The fault lay in Simizhi being 

an idealist; and idealism rarely enjoys rights to claim prosperity; and there was 

no local Krishna to befriend this Kuchela of Simizhi even belatedly. An expert 

in swaras, his rendition was classic. Sundaram Ayyar had his training under two 

stalwarts, viz., Ettayapuram Ramachandra Bhagavatar (who fathered the 

musical gifts of Marungapuri Gopala Krishna Ayyar, Melody-king Pushpavanam, 

the famous Dhanakoti Sisters, Puducheri Rangaswamy Ayyar and 

Sivasubramania Ayyar) and the eminent Ramaswami Sivan at Tiruvaiyaru 

during 1894-95. At the age of twelve, he made his debut at Sengalipuram near 

Kumbakonam officiating for B.A. Varadachariar who could not arrive. He took 

Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar voluntarily for training attracted by his 

musicianship and encouraged him. There is, indeed, an air of irony in their lives 

that both were idealists, experts, 'colossuses of learning and highly respected 

but were not helped to prosper materially! 

B..M. SUNDARAM - MUSICOLOGIST: (b.October 10, 1935) 

Son of the magnificent tavil vidwan, Needamangalam Meenakshishundaram 
Pillai, B.M. Sundaram is a musicologist. His legacy is vast in the art with deep 
and profound knowledge of men and matters. His articles are detailed and full 
on anecdotal information. His 'Monograph on Kancheeepuram Naina Pillai 1 
bears ample evidence of this. He has availed of the immense potential of 
Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore. His works are 'Comparative Study of Karnatak 
and Hindustani Systems of Music' and a compendium of over 3,000 raga-scales 
titled 'PalaiAzhi'. He has some more researched works to bring out, it is said. 
He is on the Staff of All India Radio, Pondicherry as Music Composer. 



(b. 1912) 

The lad of thirteen studying at the Ramakrishna Mission Home, Mylapore, 
then a temple of spiritual culture, snubbed by the teacher for claiming to have 
composed the-crisp poem 'Sunflower', speaking through his tears, challenged 
the teacher to put him to test. 'Fountain' was the title given and there was a spot 
composition to the admiration of the teacher and the amazement of the 
students. That was his maiden feat in composition. He has since composed 
over 200 kritis, varnams, etc., besides hundreds of nirupanams for musical 
discourses. An asukavi, he could compose on any subject ex tempore. He 
passed out and took to music successively under Ettayapuram Rajagopala 
Bhagavatar, son of the distinguished Ramachandra Bhagavatar, Dasavadyam 
Salem Veeraraghava Bhagavatar and Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar. He 
has imbibed much of the Maharajapuram style and is full of praise of the 
magnificent art of Ayyar. He was in the first batch of students at the Annamalai 
University Music College but left it after a few months. He is Mannargudi 
Sambasiva Bhagavatar, the harikatha maestro and Secretary cum Executive 
Trustee, Sri Tyagaraja Sangeeta Vidwat Samajam, Mylapore to which he is 
passionately devoted over the decades. 

How was it that he took to musical discourse? He was not equipped for it. 
When the discourser stipulated for a day did not turn up at the Samajam, as 
Secretary he stepped in and gave a classical exposition which revealed his 
hidden talents, vast knowledge and immense capability. Instant offers to render 
similar exposition naturally forced him to specialise. His composing acumen is 
his tour de force to successfully pilot thematic musical discourses. 'Any subject' 
is good for him and he had covered over two hundred themes. Immense 
musicianship, vast repertoire of songs and free style of exposition added to his 
profound interest in delving deep into the reputed works of masters and 
highlight their bhava, rasa and message soon crowned him with success and 
popularity. 'Sambasiva' is his signature. Eminent violinists and percussionists 
have provided accompaniment to him. Sambasiva became a 'Bhagavatar', 
when Musiri Subramania Ayyar, prime exponent of bhava - rasa, hailed him as 
a bhava-rasa-katharatnakara. 

Place of birth 



Titles & Honours 


Rajam Ayyar & Minakshi Ammal 

1 933 at the Perambur Sabha, Madras. 

Harikatha Kalakshepa Jyoti by Swami Sivananda Saraswati, Rishikesh 
Kalaimamani by the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandram 
Sangeet Sahitya Joyti, Samgeeta Ratnam, Harikatha Sironmani, Nadakanal and 
Katharatnakara are among the titles he has been honoured with. 

Post held : Harikatha Tutor, Government College of Carnatic Music, Madras. 

Disciples : M. Chandrasekharan, Jaya Krishnan, Vocalist K.V. Krishnan and the late 
melody-queen N.C. Vasantakokilam . 


K.B. SUNDARAMBAL - MELODY QUEEN: (c.1907 - Septr. 24, 1980) 

The lass was born poor in a very humble family but was rich in musical 
acumen and expression. The village of Kodumudi on the banks of the 
rejuvenating River Cauvery stole the distinction of cradling her on birth. Chill 
penury faced the child on birth and soon it found that it had to earn not only its 
bread but also her mother's. Penury did not fortunately stifle her noble rage and 
the lass went about trading her folk songs in delectable tunes for a few paise. 
Sympathetic people were not averse to part with a small coin in a quid pro quo 
for listening to the little girl's melody. But how long could this be done and 
continued ? 

Balambal, her mother took her daughter to the nearby town Karur, a nursery 
of Classical Carnatic music and found in R.S. Krishnaswamy Ayyar, Deputy 
Superintendent of Police, a sympathetic, music - loving officer. With 
understandable solicitude, he introduced the girl to the celebrated dramatist, 
P.S. Velu Nair, one of the reigning dramatists, in 1 91 7. That was the first turning 
point in the life of K.B. Sundarambal, the ten-year old girl. Velu Nair could not 
be said to be extending any favour in taking the girl to his dramatic troupe since 
the girl's golden voice was an asset sufficient to lure a sizeable crowd. Her voice 
traversed the three octaves effortlessly without faltering. The rustic timbre was 
crisp, sure and steady. The strength and volume of the pitch were such that the 
hall would echo back from its corners in those days of mikeless dramas to 
packed houses. She took her rehearsals well and dished out melodious Carnatic 
tunes to the delight of the thronging crowds. And she was indeed non pare/7 in 
her majestic, magnificent melody. Hers was lakshya sangita at its best Her 
musical talents grew with experience, exposure and age. It should be noted that 
she sang unconscious of and oblivious to theoretical stipulations for a long time. 

Cinderella was rescued by a fairy godmother and then a Prince took notice 
of her. For this musical rustic girl, the Prince Charming was none other than the 
top star-dramatist, S.G. Kittappa. In the poem 'Milkmaid', when the boy queries 
'What is your fortune?', the girl answers, 'My face is my fortune'. The asset of 
the girl of Kodumudi was neither the beauty of Cinderella nor her face as in the 
case of the milkmaid. Her forte was her thrilling, captivating, enchanting, 
exhilarating, soulful voice. S.G. Kittappa with his keen ear for melody was 
passing by. He could not but pause to hear the arresting voice. It was love at 
first hearing and he was no Dushyant to forget this Sakuntala. It was a marriage 
of hearts, of melody, of the nobler elements of air and fire free from the base 
elements of earth and water. Brahmin Kittappa married the streat-singer. This 
Marriage of Melodies in 1927 was the second turning point in her life. It was 
indeed a landmark in the annals of tamil stage, Of course it was the Age of 
Melody. But a combination of SGK - KBS could easily turn the wind and conquer 
the world any day and today too. 


Chaste melody rich in mysteriously thrilling tone, brimming with bhava and 
rasa flowed from the two and people went crazy. All the air was filled by the 
magical names of the two. 1927-1933 was the Golden Era of Tamil Drama and 
Carnatic Music. The two Angels of Melody plundered the hearts of the 
cognoscenti and looted the emotions of the lay and the six years saw on the 
stage soulful music of a style never heard of before or thereafter. The 
impressionable era and the musical gala feast were too grand, glorious and 
extravagant to last for long. Kittappa died prematurely in 1 933. A stunned and 
bereaved world of music, drama and culture in anguish could find none to fill the 
void. Sundarambal's grief too was understandable. It was Kittappa who raised 
her from a lovyly street - singer to a respected dramatist, elevated her personal 
and social status and took her to his bosom. Ingratitude was not in her element. 
Twenty year old Cinderella found her twenty-one year old Prince. Was it only to 
lose him at twenty-six? Excruciating void. 

She was entering on the third stage of her impressionable life. She rose 
above the stature of many of her jlk. She was born humble but she proved her 
greatness and incomparable faith in her Religion and Indian Culture. (When a 
famous American President died, there were suggestions that his popular 
spouse should refrain from remarriage but remain as the exalted Senior Lady of 
the Nation. But they went unheeded.) Young Sundarambal donned the white 
saree and marked her forehead with the sacred ash (vibhuti) in compliance with 
tradition. If her music was traditional, how could her way of life and faith be 
different ? She, in her appearance, gave the image of Woman Saints of the 
country. She lived a life of graceful rectitude giving concerts thereafter which 
were a delight. People-admired her before but respected her now because flesh 
was flushed out of her life. 

There were two films for which, it would appear, she was born with grace 
and spiritual charm. The first picture was Nandanar, the vibrant product of the 
great tamil revolutionary composer, Gopala Krishna Bharati. She played the 
lead-role and the role of the landlord was taken by Maharajapuram Viswanatha 
Ayyar, the wizard of Carnatic music. It was a thundering success. The only 
poignant point was that Bharati who wove the great, first - ever socio-spiritual 
tamil opera a century earlier and Kittappa who ignored conventions and 
distinctions and gracefully grasped the hand of Sundarambal in wedlock were 
not there. The two hearts that would have cherished the success most had 
stopped to throb in 1881 and 1933! Sundarambal created history by receiving lakh for the film - a sum unheard of then. Avvayar is the most fragrant 
flower of Tamil Poets of Wisdom. But people had not seen her; she was 
pre-historic. Sundarambal took the role of Avvayar in the film. It was a roaring 
success again. 

Her expression and pronunciation of the sahitya (text of song) were crystal 
clear, facile, lucid and chaste exuding bhava and rasa. A devotee of Muruga, 


she was admired and respected. The tamil proverb says, 'Kuppayil kidantalum 
kundumani niram maradu' (The color of the Indian liquorice would not change 
even if it be in the dust). Sundarambal's life is a sparkling proof and specimen 
of that aphorism. There was grace, merit, culture and above all the image of 
perfect Indian womanhood. The Government recognised the truth and message 
of her life and in 1 958, made her a Member of the Legislative Council - perhaps 
the only way to express the appreciation of the people as a whole. In 1 964, the 
Tamil Isai Sangham conferred on her the title of Tamil Isai Perarignar. 

Nallathangal was her first drama at Karur. It was to Karur that Sundarambal's 
mother went first like a 'Nallathangal' in distress. Valli Tirumanam 5 was the first 
drama at Colombo with S.Q.K. as Muruga and K.B.S. as Valli. It was all ex 
tempore dialogues and songs and not the rehearsed routine as now. They 
excelled each other. It did not end in jealousy as in Poet Illango's 
Kovalan-Madhavi; their melodies were Heaven's gift for each other, When 
Kittappa died, she learnt Swara Gnana (expertise in swaras) and ascended the 
concert stage vowing that without Kittappa, the drama stage was a burning ghat 
to her. That an urchin girl could rise up to such sublime levels is a tribute to her 
innate heart born of sheer love and gratitude. It is said that she bore him four 
children but none survived, probably believing that her music was the best 
legacy to outlast her life ! 

Her films included ; 

Nandanar Avvayar 

Manimekhalai Tiruvilayadai 

Karaikai Ammaiyar Poompuhar 

Kandan Karunai Thunaivan 

Her immortal songs included: 

Gnanappazhathai pizhindu - Ragamallka 

Thanitthjrundu vazhum - Todi 

Venniranindhadhenna - Shanmukhapriya 

A 'Homa' bird as described by Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, her voice 
soared in the upper octaves effortlessly and felt at home and rarely faltered 
because of fatigue. Her lakshya-based concerts lasted for five hours and over. 

Concert tours ; Sri Lanka, Malaysia. - 

To invoke God for rains, Rishivandiyam in South Arcot was the venue for a 
concert of KBS. 'I shall sing till rains descend', she said while starting. Four and 
a half hours passed. Copious rains came ! Undeterred, she went on with her 
songs on Muruga. The drought-stricken people sat entranced in the downpour 
of rain and melody. 


KBS, had, by document No. 6880 of 1975, created a trust of her properties 
for charitable and religious purposes, She had later executed a will by which she 
had confirmed it and bequeathed all her properties to the said trust. It is said 
that the specific trust created by her had not been given effect to. This is 
for the Government to probe. This will is an expression of a sacred wish! 

* * * 


Daughter of Subbanna and a child prodigy, Sundaramma had her lessons 
under her father and Vasudevachariar. Her speedy assimilation of the art 
enabled her to render even pallavi at the tender age of ten. In her fifteenth year, 
she "had given her concert before the .Maharaja of Mysore. Had sung for dramas 
also. Enjoyed a melodious voice. 

Abhinaya Saradhe, a title and an award from the Music Academy, Madras in 
1962 were among the recognition she got. 

* * * 


Parents : RS. Ramachandra Ayyar & Kunjammal 

Place of birth : Pudukkottai. 

Sundar Rajan had his musical training under the junior of the Trichy Brothers, 
T.R. Swaminatha Ayyar, who is perhaps the senior most performing musician 
today. Later he learnt under Bangalore Prof. Ramachandra Ayyar who taught 
Mathematics at Vijaya College and music at home like Prof. R. Srinivasan. Made 
his debut at the Sadguru Sangeetha Sabha, Tiruchirapalli during the Tyagaraja 
Aradhana. Sundar Rajan was giving concerts on the All India Radio, Mysore, 
Bangalore and Tiruchirapalli and has been coaching a large number of disciples 
including the author of this book. 

He has a very rich repertoire of Dikshitar kritis and is one of the few now who 
could boast of two hundred such kritis and over. Has evolved five pallavi(s) with 
notation and script. An amiable musician, he is said to be an expert in vyvahara 


Parents : Appaswamy Ayyar, a Sanskrit pandit, & Nagarathinammal. 

Sundaresan had a fine sense of music even while young and it attracted the 
notice of Vidwan TV. Krishnamurti who took him as a disciple. 1 942-1 945 were 


the years of his training. He enriched much of his musical stock by hearing 
celebrated vocalists like Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar, Ariyakudi 
Ramanuja Ayyangar and Madurai Mani Ayyar, passed the Praveen course of 
the Egmore Dramatic Society Sangita Vidyasala. He derived deep inspiration 
from Ramnad Krishnan and imbibed Veena Dhanammal style which he is said 
to have refined to suit his own genius and aspirations. He started giving 
concerts. His rendition is noted for sruti integrity and innovative swaras. 

M.A. SUNDARESWARAN - VIOLINIST: (b.December 28, 1959} 

Violin would seem to have been introduced in Carnatic music for certain 
musical families to adopt or appropriate it as their own. The Parur family is one 
among them. Parur ^undaram Ayyar and his renowned sons, Anantaraman and 
Gopalakrishnan have distinguished themselves and M.A. Sundareswaran and 
his brother M.A. Krishnaswamy, sons of M.S. Anantaraman have inherited the 
rich family legacy. Sundareswaran has had the benefit of having training under 
his grandfather, father and uncle and is proficient in both the Hindustani and 
Carnatic styles. The father and his two sons have been giving trio - violin 
concerts and Sundareswaran is among the prominent violin artistes now, 
Besides he is ' A ' Grade artiste with the All India Radio. 

Disc recordings : Audio and Video cassettes as soloist and accompanist. 

Concerttours : USSR, U.K., Australia and Singapore. 

Title : Nada Oli Ratnam by the Dandayudhapani Bharata 

Natya Kalaiagam, Madras in 1989 - besides awards 
from Music Academy, Indian Fine Arts, etc. 


Parents : R.S. Kesavamurti, Asthana vidwan, Mysore and 

Venkatalakshmi Ammal. 

Suryanarayana hails from a musical family of musical Rudrapatnam and had 
his training with his father. Performed at the age of seven before the Maharajah 
of Mysore. His 23-stringed veena is a family heirloom treasured for three 
centuries. The extra strings produce orchestral sounds when the basic strings 


Titles and Honours: 

Kala Poorna 


Veena Chakravarti 

Bharata Vainika Rathna 

Nadha Jyothi 

Kaiaimamani from the Tamil Nadu Eyal Isai Nataka Mandrarn in 1978. 


(1870- December 1942) 

Gayaka Siromani Vidwan Swaminatha Ayyar was born in Pazhamaneri in 
Tanjore district, of Ramaswamy Ayyar in a family of vaidikas, scholars and 
musicians amidst the chosen environs of Nature with rich "paddy fields, ample 
groves, rivers and channels intersecting roads and villages in the upper reaches 
of the Cauvery Delta. His birth coincided with the advent of many a stalwart like 
Annamalai Reddiar, Mysore Vasudevachariar, Veena Venkataramana Das, 
Bidaram Krishnappa, Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar, Veena Dhanammal, 
Tirupazhanam PanchapakesaSastri, SarabhaSastri, etc. Studied Vedas under 
his father Ramaswami Ayyar. He was the most successful of the disciples of 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar. In his pallavi and swara singing, people saw glimpses 
of the Great Vidwan, his guru. He was the only musician to give vocal concerts, 
himself playing simultaneously the violin which he held up without resting it on 
his leg. His forte was the rendering of the padas of Kshetragna of which he had 
a considerable repertoire. 

Swaminatha Ayyar was also a capable teacher. He was honoured by the 
Music Academy with the title of ' Sangita Kalanidhi ' in 1931. Pazhamaneri 
Swamigal, an Adwaitic Saint was his brother. Was a pioneer in publishing 
modern works with notation. Ayyar studied Sanskrit works on music and 
published ' Ragabhodini 'early this century. He was on the Experts Committee 
of the Music Academy. 

* * * 

Perhaps the seniormost practising vocalist, Trichy Swaminatha Ayyar and 
his brothers. Ramachandra Ayyar were giving concerts as Trichy Brothers from 
1926. Grandsons of Orapalli Ayya Bhagavatar and sons of Fiddle Subramania 
Ayyar, the duo were popular. Swaminatha Ayyar learnt music - both vocal and 
violin - from his father and special compositions from Tillaisthanam Panju 
Bhagavatar. Made his debut in 1926 at the Tiruvisanallur Ayyaval Jayanthi 
Celebrations. A versatile musician and a pallavi exponent, he has given many 
jugalbandi performances with Hindustani musicians and sings remarkably well 
in his eighties now. 


Has composed tamil and Sanskrit pieces. Was Principal, Sri Shanmukha- 
nanda Sabha Music School and Kalasadan, Bombay. 

Honours and Titles: 

Sangeetha Ratna from Narada Gana Sabha, Madras 
Certificate of Merit from Music Academy, Madras. 


Umayalpuram has been one of the most fertile nurseries of classical 
Carnatic music - vocai, instrumental and percussive. Swaminatha Ayyar was a 
stalwart among them. Pupil of the famous Umayalpuram Krishna Bhagavatar 
and Sundara Bhagavatar, direct disciples of Tyagaraja, Swaminatha had learnt 
music earlier by closely watching his elder brother sing; later learnt under the 
Vainika Tiruvalangadu Tyagaraja Dikshitar and then under Kekkarai Muthu 
Ayyar, To crown it all, he underwent a four-year gurukulavasa under Maha 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar when T.S. Sabhesa Ayyar and Pazhamaneri Swaminatha 
Ayyar were also under training. Quite fittingly all the three became Sangita 
Kalanidhis (title conferred by the Music Academy, Madras). 

On his gurukulavasa, Swaminatha Ayyar says : 

11 In course of time, Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar came to like me. I used to accompany him 
to his concerts. Only occasionally he would give tuitions. But I would follow raga 
improvisation, swara combinations, techniques of pallavi rendition, etc., very closely, 
assimilate them and get doubts clarified by him. I had enquired him on the 22 srutis and 
he stated, " We have only 1 2 srutis. But in raga sancharas, in conformity with the bhava 
and the modulations of swaras, twenty- two srutis would automatically present themsel- 
ves. But we could not specify their places. " 

Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar had himself honoured his pupil with a tambura and 
a shawl! He presented him a book in manuscript got from a vidwan of Pudukottai 
who got it in turn from Tirunelveli giving the arohana-avarohana of 72 melakartas 
and of over a thousand janya ragas and raga lakshana gitams of over three 
hundred ragas. The guru-pupil relationship between the two is a succinct story 
and example of the form and secret of the success of gurukulavasa, an institution 
of unparalleled success now lost for ever. Mysore Vasudevachariar gives a like 
experience with his guru, Patnam Subramania Ayyar! The pupil is adopted into 
the home of the guru and becomes a mini version of the guru in art and science. 
The guru gave his all and the pupil took his guru as his god. It was not a 
syllabus-bound mechanical training but bhava-bhakti-jnana-dhana-oriented life 
which held sway from before the days of Vyasa-Suka down to the middle of the 
twentieth century in the fields of languages and arts. (For an epitaph on it please 
refer 'A Garland 1 .} 


Ayyar was honoured by H.H. the Sankaracharya of Kanchi with the title of 
'Nadanubhavasarajnana' and was patronised by Tiruvaduthurai Mutt. His 
disciples are many including Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar and 
Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar. 

* * * 


(19 02 1855 - 28 04 1942) 

1 Dr. U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar and Subbarama Dikshitar were both orthodox brahmins 
who belonged to the old school and ways of living; but few modern scholars can compete 
with them for their modernity, integrity and prodigious industry. 1 

T.S. Parthasarathy. 

It is with a sense of veneration, admiration and amazement that I take my 
pen to write this brief biographical note on the greatest and foremost research 
scholar in tamil and an eminent biographer and musicologist. 'Swaminatha Ayyar 
competed with the bee and surpassed it in industry. ' The Tamil World is eternally 
indebted to him for unearthing many a golden work which were decaying 
unhonoured and unrecognised and languishing unnoticed, unwept and unsung 
in the neglected labyrinths of far-flung villages. To Ayyar the renaissance and 
regeneration of tamil classics owe their glorious beginnings. His uncanny mind 
was able to trace and lay hands on hidden classics on palmyrah leaves in nooks 
and corners. His deep penetrative intellect diciphered and collated differing, 
discrepant scripts with the immense energy and enthusiasm of an explorer, 
epigraphist, linguist and crusader all in one. The super computerised efficiency 
of the crusading explorer brought back to focus and life work after work to the 
amazement and joy of tamil people and scholars. 

Swaminatha Ayyar combined in himself broad vision with an incisive intellect, 
deep penetration with detective analysis, an untiring mind for details with 
immaculate power for codification. He was an excellent biographer, authentic 
historian, alluring short story writer, a linguist nonpareil and a giant intellectually 
and physically. A wholesome product of the pristine culture of India, he was 
simple, affable, communicative and large-hearted, His statue adorns the campus 
of the Presidency College on the Marina in Madras. Opposite to his, stands most 
significently the statue of Kannagi, the finest Symbol of Chastity and of 
Goddess Shakti, the noblest creation of the tamil poet, Illango, in his 
Qilapathikaram pointing to the statue of Ayyar as if declaring - 

* There sits the noble son of the tamil world who is an inspiration and 
trail-blazer to future generations! Revere him! ' 

A library is run in the campus of Kalakshetra, Madras. His disciples were 
many including his son Kalyanasundaram Ayyar, M.V. Ramanujachariar, 
Chockalinga Tambiran and Ki. Va. Jagannathan. The library houses 21 69 cadjan 
leaf manuscripts and 1 8000 printed books. 


Son of Venkatasubba Ayyar and Saraswati Ammal, he was born at 
Uthamadanapuram in Tanjore district. At the age of seven, he went to 
Tirukundram in Udayarpalayam taluk and one day heard the song Teeyinil 
moozhginar (Kanada) in Nandanar Charitram drama enacted there. It was the 
drama on Harischandra, the Prince of Truth, in the case of Mohandas 
Karamchand Gandhi and Nandanar, the Apostle of Devotion, in the case of 
Swaminatha that acted as a catalytic agent. He was humming the songs the next 
day. The violinist-father was delighted to see his aptitude for music and started 
the preliminary lessons. Swaminathan had special lessons under - 

Venkatanarayana Ayyar, his grandfather: 1 jn sanskm apd musj an(j 

Narayana Ayyar and Swaminatha Ayyar: 

Ariyalur Sadagopa Ayyangar, Kunnarn Kasturi 1 . 

Ayyangar and Senganam Vridhachala Reddiar f 

On August 1 6, 1 868, the thirteen year old Swaminathan married. In his case, 
it was not only not a case of ' vivaham vidya nacanam ' (marriage blocks 
knowledge), but the plant learnt to flower with greater charm and colour with the 
tendril twining around and nourishing it. 

From April 1 870 to February 1 , 1 876, he studied under the great tarn i I savant 
Vidwan Meenakshisundaram Pillai and on the demise of that scholar, came 
under the direct tutelage of Sri Subramania Desikhar of Tiruvaduthurai Mutt. 
There ensued an era of unique and fruitful search and research on an unheard 
of scale and publication of tamil classics. Later Swaminatha Ayyar was Lecturer 
in Tamil, Government College, Kumbakonam, where he won the profound 
esteem of colleagues, students and the public. When he was giving tuitions to 
Salem Ramaswamy Mudaliar, District Munsif , he got exposure to the hidden 
treasures of ancient tamil works. Surely the scholar should have cried 'Eureka'. 
He should have shouted so not once but many more times since Destiny had to 
lay faith in this good son to retrieve one after another of unknown, hidden tamil 
classics as none else would do it. To decry eminence, there is a legion. The 
great series of publications started with 'Jeevaka Chintamani' in 1887. The list 
of works published is long and strident and the manuscripts he left are equally 
large. 1861 saw Nandanar Charitram the first socio-spiritual tamil opera. In 
1 885, the Indian National Congress had its beginnings at Madras with its unique 
and un-paralleled history and influence. Indian and Tamil Renaissance was in 
full swing. U.Ve. Saa. was one of the ambrosial flowers who shaped music, 
language, biography, research, etc. 

While yet a boy, in 1871 his violinist-father took him to Gopala Krishna 
Bharati for training in music. When it was mentioned that he was taking tuitions 
in tamil from Vidwan Meenakshisundaram Pillai, Bharati exclaimed, 
' Meenakshisundaranar is an enemy of music ' and that he would not permit it. 
Secretly the music tuitions started; but the Tamil savant once espied the boy 
humming his musical lessons and found out the truth. True to what Bharati had 


said, ' Tamil or Music - not both ', he ruled. Musical training was the casualty 
as Ayyar loved tamil more and Destiny played its role too. The chosen field of 
his advent and mission in life was unmistakably tamil. TAMIL WORLD IS STILL 

Legacy and aptitude for music did not however get lost in the waters of River 
Kudamurutti, or the River Cauvery which flow nearby. His innate genius 
asserted itself and he collected great many details of musicians and composers. 
Some have appeared in print and incomplete manuscript notes are extant. As 
I mentioned in 'A Garland' thai the venerable Doctor thought of bringing out a 
collection on the lives of musicians but his crowded life was a fight against the 
clock and the calender. His weighty contributions attracted the notice of the Lord 
and he was withdrawn to be by His side - but only after he had completed the 
memorable publication of the lives of Gopala Krishna Bharati, Maha Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar and Ghanam Krishna Ayyar. They are excellent biographies noted for 
factual integrity, beauty and clarity. All the great maestros were great lovers of 
tamil zoo. 'Dr Ayyar has written a series of delightful vignettes besides his own 
biography which he left incomplete on his demise as 800 pages had brought it 
up only to 1900 with forty-two impressionable years left uncovered. 'His 
account of meeting Sankarabharanam Narasa Ayyar, etc., gives a strident and 
startling account of men and matters, social values and economic conditions. 
His works are characterized by Intricacy of detailing, virtuosity of workmanship 
and overall coherence 1 . 

Titles and honours have no relevance to such Men of Destiny. Here are 

Mahamahopadhyaya Government of India 1 906. 

Dravida Vidya Bhushanam Bharatha Dharma Mandal 1 91 7. 

Dakshinadya Kalanidhi Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt 1925. 

Doctorate University of Madras 1 932, 

Official posts held : 

Lecturer in Tamil, Government College, Kumbakonam; February 1 6, 1 880 - 1 903. 
Lecturer, Presidency College, Madras 1 903 - 1 91 9. 

Principal, Sri Meenakshi Tamil College, Chidambaram 1 924 - 1 927. 

True greatness is ever humble; water in full pot spills not. Swaminatha 
Ayyar was a teacher of teachers and a pioneer research-scholar of vast parts, 
deep penetration and captivating expression. His diction is of Gandhian 
simplicity, at once charming and dazzling. The panorama of his activity was 
gigantic. His vivid memory was a challenge to the computer. The eminence of 
the man has not been receiving the recognition that is his due in the last few 
decades, it is felt. His monumental work and immortal contribution are apt to 
escape the notice of the younger generation. The fiftieth year of his demise was 
celebrated by well - meaning admirers like G. K. Moopanar at Kumbakonam near 


Uthamadanapuram on 28-04-1 992, I could not resist the temptation to linger on 
a little more on his historic life - a watershed in the history of tamil and music, 

What was the condition of tamil classics prior to 1 887? 

11 Great poets had heard of Sangam literature but knew not what they were. Kovalan, 
Kannagi and Madhavi were mere names in folk tales and ballads and none knew that 
they were characters in the classic 'Cilappadhikaram'. They knew not the difference 
5 e tw een 'Agananooru 'and 'Purananooru 'nor were they aware of the religion to which 
the classic ' Manimekhalai ' related ! " 

Thanks to the life-long labours and service of the Doctor, even boys in 
elementary schools know it all now, That is the imperishable magnificence of 
his work and the magnititude of his monumental contribution. The tamil savant 
Thiru. Vi. Ka. sums up thus: 

1 U. Ve. Sa's birth was Tamil; his growth was Tamil, His life was Tamil. He had his whole 
being in Tamil. He became Tamil. And he was Tamil/ 

The mighty Rajaji, never known for his liberal praises, calls Ayyar ' Tamil 
Vyasa'. Reverentially called Tamil Thatha' (GOM), Doctor U. Ve.Sa. combined 
in himself the pioneering energies of a Kalhan in historic perception, a 
Venkatamakhin in codification, a Vyasa in story-writing, a Subbarama Dikshitar 
in presenting a thesaurus and a Dickens in gracious flowing style. National 
Poet Mahakavi Subrahmania Bharati adored him as ' Kumbha Muni ' of eternal 


By Ayyar : 

Tamil Sangham Compilations Tamil Kavyas 

Sthala puranams Grammar Prabhandas & 

a host of other items. 
By the library: 
Sangham Literature and a large number of other items. 


(20th Century) 

Swaminatha Sastrigal had his musical training and inspiration from Veena 
Varadayya, Tiruvaiyaru Ramamurti Ayyar, Umayalpuram Swaminatha Ayyar, 
Vedaranyam Pallavi Ramachandra Ayyar, Kallidaikurichi Sundaram Ayyar and 
Tiger Varadachariar - an array of stalwarts. Was Music Teacher, Tirutturaipundi 
Government High School and is now running the Tyaga Brahma Sangita 
Vidyalaya for training students, Has composed two hundred songs with the 
signature ' Varadadasan '. Has published 'Gana Sudha ' in 1978. 



Son of Srinivasachariar, Thathacharsar stopped his collegiate studies with 
Intermediate and took to music. Had his training with Veena Krishnamachariar 
of Arya Gana Vidyasala and later in 1 938 under Rallapalli Anantakrishna Sarma. 
He started giving concerts on the All I ndia Radio in 1 938 and soon was appointed 
as Staff Artiste. Later he went over to Akash Vani, Mysore in 1942 and then to 
Bangalore and retired. Much of his musical activity was for the All India Radio. 



Palani Kunjaram, daughter of musician Vengathammal became Coimbatore 
Thayee later, the word of affection prevailing over the designated name. She 
learnt dance under Subbaraya Nattuvanar and music under Karur Ramachary, 
Mysore Kempa Gowda, Kivalur Ramachandra Ayyar as well as Tiruvisanallur 
Narayanaswami Ayya. For professional causes, she shifted to the more 
prosperous Madras and enjoyed a large number of concerts in Andhra Pradesh, 
Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Though she did not enjoy a majestic (gambhira) 
voice, her tone and rendition were soothing and satisfying. Her four-hour 
concerts would start with four kalais and with pallavi would come to two kalais 
and there would a happy blend of javalis, tamil songs etc. Enjoyed an immense 
repertoire. Laiitangi (M.LV's mother) was among her disciples. Tiruvotriyur 
Tyagayyar was her patron. 

Disc recordings: 

* * * 


The restless life found itself in tune only with nobler elements and propagated 
basic principles of morality to enlighten the public. Having experienced Bliss, he 
exhorted the people to follow the basic tenets of Godliness. God has neither 
caste nor family, neither birth nor death. His works 'Anandakalippu' and 
'Parapara Kanni* bring out the essence of true spiritualism. 

Thayumanavar was born at the scriptural jungle called Vedaranyam, of 
Kediliappa Pillai and Gajavalli. An enlightened man and enterprising 
agriculturist, his father was taken by the Chieftain atTiruchirapalli, Muthu Vijaya 
Reghunatha Chockalinga Nayak for Palace Administration. Thayumanavar who 
had undergone studies in tamil, telugu and Sanskrit, stepped into his father's 


post on the latter's demise. When the Chieftain died his lady is stated to have 
felt drawn by the attractive features of Thayumanavar. Well-versed in philosophy 
and thirsting for God-realisation, Thayumanavar realised that the palace was 
ill-suited for his life's mission and left. He was on pilgrimage, married and lost 
his wife when she begot a child. His songs are popular. 




Thenmatam Brothers were tutors to quite a large number of lady artistes and 
both were sahitya kartas also composing kirtans, swarajatis and gitas. Their 
compositions were published in a book titled Sangitananda Ratnakara. About 
fifty pieces do not seem to have been published yet. The violinists were religious 
and were popular in Andhra Pradesh. Narasimhachariar had translated 
Ramayana also into telugu. The Journal of the Music Academy, Madras makes 
special mention of their musical capabilities. Chinna Singaracharyulu wrote in 
1905 that the Brothers were good violinists. 

K.C. THIAGARAJAN - MUSICIAN: (b. Decr.15, 1913) 

Thiagarajan was born at Krishnapuram in Pattukottai taluk, of 
K.C. Chidambara Ayyar, atamil vidwan and Chellammal. He had his training in 
music under Veedividangan Pillai of Tiruvarur and Tanjore Krishnamoorti 
Nayudu. Was Music Producer, All India Radio during 1939 - 1971. Thiagarajan 
was vocalist and instrumentalist who could play on violin, gottuvadyam and 
jaiatarangam. He has been giving concerts and taking earnest interest in the 
deliberations of the Experts Committee of the Music Academy, Madras. Has 
contributed articles. He became Principal, Teachers' College run by the 
Academy in 1971 .The versatile artiste-pedagogue was honoured with a 
Certificate of Merit by the Academy in 1 977. 


A good man and a good percussionist, Thukkaram had provided percussion 
support to top vocalists like Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Patnam Subramania Ayyar 
and Todi Sundara Rao. Was famous for 'meetu, gumki and purattal', fingering 
and contrived sound variations. He accepted concerts without distinction for all. 

nf V/itt*l a Hm/ntao rvf Panrli ironnon rvf PanHoriru ir Thi iL'L'orcjm olen 


mridangam. The finer aspect of it is that the gumkaram would be raised both 
when his hand goes to and from on the thoppi; perhaps few could do it. 
Sulamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar pays glowing tributes to the intricacies 
of his play. If during a concert, the instrument develops sruti bheda, he would 
not stop to rectify as most do but would go on giving accompaniment with the 
thoppi Valantaram till the song is over. This is a practice worth emulation atleast 
when the principal artiste is gathering momentum. (Tirukkodikaval Krishna Ayyar 
and one or two others are credited with playing on a single string on such 
occasions without stopping to rectify their violin.) Thukkaram came to be called 
Thoppi Thukkaram'. Bhagavatar records that Dakshinamurty Pillai, Azhaga 
nambi Pillai and other stalwarts drew inspiration from Thukkaram. 'Only in the 
concerts of Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar and Sarabha Sastri, his -play could not 
dominate on the principal artiste. All others would get dwarfed.' (Bhagavatar). 
Bhagavatar 5 s description of Thukkaram vis-a-vis ordinary musicians reminds the 
author of Fred Allen's sarcasm 

1 The lion and the calf may lie together; 
But the calf would not get much sleep. 1 


Ramachandran Nair, I.A.S. is an eminent lyricist and Thulaseevanam is his 
pseudonym. He is a scholar in malayalam and Sanskrit and started composing 
songs in 1 971 . A disciple of Sri Paramabhattaraka Sri Vidyarthi Raja Swamigal, 
his lyrics are profoundly devotional. He has drawn inspiration from the 
compositions of Swati Tirunal Maharajah, Narayana Tirtha and Jayadeva and 
'his Gitaganga is perennial 1 - Thulaseevana Sangita Parishat propagates his 



Son of Vina Kuppayyar, the eminent disciple of Tyagaraja, Tiruvotriyur 
Tyagayyar had his training under Fiddle Ponnuswami (and perhaps his father). 
A delectable composer of tana varnas, ragamalikas and kritis, he was a 
specialist in talamalika compositions with different sections in different talas 
particularly in pallavis. 'His compositions are replete with raga bhava - sangatis 
reflecting the diverse facets of the raga - presenting its melodic personality... He 
was the first composer in the annals of Carnatic music to have composed 
Ashtotra group kritis and only Harikesanallur Muthiah Bhagavatar had later 
emulated him.' (Dr. S. Seetha) He had used Adita\a for 102 kritis, Rupaka for 
five and Triputa for one, but 108 ragas without repeating any. His compositions 
are full of technical and rhetorical flourishes. 


His varnams include: 

Inthamodi in Saranga raga 

Karunimpa idi in Sahana raga 

Chalamela in Durbar raga 

Saraguna in Madyamavati raga 

SarnLDayajuda in Kedaragoula raga 

Published two works - 

'Pallavi Swarakalpavalli ' (1 900) and 
'Sankirtana Ratnavali '(1 907). 

The first Contains the compositions of his father and his own. 


The concert was on before a packed audience. Suddenly the head of a goose fell on 
the stage. The manager promptly advanced to the front and with the usual courtesies 

6 Gentlemen, if anyone among you has lost his head please do not be uneasy. I 
shall restore it at the conclusion of the concert. ' 

Edmund Fuller. 

Absolutely professional. 


Gurukulavasa yielded to training schools and colleges or tuitions under chosen 
musical masters. Some had/have full or part-time courses. Correspondence courses with 
cassettes and notes arrived. Now there are musical lessons on phone! Still modern 
methods of leaching lag behind the old. 'Manasitdia gumkulavasa' (preceptors of 
inspiration) was a brilliant concept which had helped many to rise to dizzy heights like : 

Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar had Lord Krishna, 
Papanasam Sivan had Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar; 
G.N. Balasubramaniam had Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar. 
Vinjamuri Varadaraja Ayyangar had Tiger Varadachariar and 

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar. 

Ekalavya of the epics adopted the unwilling preceptor Drona himself and outshone 
his chosen student Arjuna. Dedication, determination won him the skill. 

Here is a view of Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavatar of the Tyagabrahma Sabha, 
Madras on correspondence courses: 

* A home science student added up everything but forgot to ignite the stove since it was not in the 



A. V. UNNIKRISHNAN - FLAUTIST: (b.September 10, 1935) 

Place of birth : Pilicode in Kasargod district. 

Parents : T. Unnikrishnan - Thirumumpa. Father had his own 

kathakali troupe. His children are all trained in music or 
in bharatanatyam. 

Training in music : Gurukulavasam under T.K.Radhakrishnan for ten years 

from 1 956. 

Unnikrishnan started giving concerts on the Ail India Radio in 1964. From 
1970 to 1989, he had been travelling abroad as accompanist to bharatanatyam 
dancers and incidentally giving concerts too. Had given concerts for television 
networks in USA, Canada and USSR. Has toured Japan, China, Pakistan, 
South Africa, Europe, Malaysia and Singapore, besides others. The tours were 
either privately sponsored or arranged by the ICCR. 

Title: Sangeethajna 

Unnikrishnan has faith in music as a successful profession notwithstanding 
competition and favouritism. 

P. UNNIKRISHNAN - VOCALIST: (b.July 9,1966) 

Parents : K. Radhakrishnan & Harini Radhakrishnan 

Musical training under : V.L. Seshadri, 

Dr. S. Ramanathan and 
Savitri Satyamurti. 

Special coaching under: T.Brinda with scholarship. 
General qualification : B.Com., D.P.A. 

'Kesari Kuteeram' building at Royapettah was a familiar sight for long. Music 
Academy is stated to have functioned in it as a fledgling. Grandson of its owner, 
Dr. K.N. Kesari, Unnikrishnan made his debut at Palghat in 1980 for the Fine Arts 
Society. Has a pleasing, resonant voice, natural talents, felicity, flexibility and 
imagination. A cricketeer, Unnikrishnan is a popular artiste who brings to play 
in concerts a variety of strokes well-planned and executed to ensure 
comprehensive audience receptivity and appeal - a formula now resorted to by 
rising artistes with differing shades of success. Shanmukha records, 'For one 
so young, the maturity in perception and presentation is something rare to come 



Musical training under: A.S. Ananthagopalan & Padmavati Anantagopalan, 

Having had her training from her sixth year, Usha Rajagopalan made her 
debut at the age of twelve and has been having quite a large number of concerts 
providing accompaniment to distinguished musicians. A Graduate in 
Commerce, Usha Rajagopalan is a Staff Artiste with the All India Radio, Has 
won awards from the Music Academy, Madras, etc. A complete violinist. 

Concert tours: Middle East and Singapore. 


Mridangam maestro Tanjore Vaidyanatha Ayyar's house. An informal select 
gathering. On request, the celebrated Mazhavai Subbarama Bhagavatar took up raga 
Malavi for elaboration and pallavi. Exquisite was the rendition. He adopted a rare tala 
by name Lakshmeesa. T.K. Murti who provided the mridangam support and who was 
then an apprentice under Vaidyanatha Ayyar faltered and stumbled in identifying the tala. 
A hurt guru hit him for lack of understanding. 

Vaidyanatha Ayyar was not only guru to Murti but his foster father. Murti hit back. 
How ? With a heartwarming solo (tani avartd) in that tala. 

B.M. Sundaram in 'Sruti' 
Vide page 478 of A Garland for musicians who were not spared of the rod. 


The Pandit was stressing the peculiarity of Muthuswami Dikshitar inscribing the 
ragamudra in each song so that the raga swaroopas could stand fixed unalterably but that 
Tyagaraja did not adopt that mode of composition. 

Tygaraja Rasika (?) : He too has done it in Chani Todi Teve. 

The song is in Harikambhoji and the word 'Todi' does not refer to the raga.. The line 
actually means : 

'Oh maid of my mind ! Go and bring quick my Lord.' 

R. Vedavalli on 05-07-1992. 



VADIRAJA - DEVOTIONAL POET: (c.1480 - 1600) 

Called Bhuvara, born at Huvvinakere in South Kanara, of Devaramabhatta 
and Gowri, Vadiraja came to be called so in recognition of his dialectical talents. 
The famed ruler Krishna Deva Raya called him Prasangabharana Tirtha. While 
young, he came under the grace of Swami Vagisa of Swadi Mutt. Puranas speak 
of the discord between young Vigneswara and his younger brother Kartikeya all 
over a fruit, in which the intellectual elder deprived the younger of the fruit in 
spite of his whirlwind marathon. The fruit thus came to be called the Fruit of 
Wisdom (Jnanapazham). Issac Newton was attracted by the fall of an apple. 
Even Adam and Eve could not resist their tasting the forbidden fruit 
notwithstanding the prohibition! But young Vadiraja alone remained passive, a 
monument of self-knowledge and self-control when Guru Vagisa asked his 
disciples to help themselves with fruits heaped before them. (Vadiraja probably 
took the cue from the Vigneswara episode but excelled Him by not taking any. 
Did not Maitreyi tell her husband Yajnavalkya that she did not want the material 
wealth he offered her but sought for the imperishable? When Yajnavalkya 
brought a scene of Mithila in flames, did not the disciple-ruler Janaka alone sit 
unconcerned saying, If Mithila goes, I have no concern 5 to illustrate detachment! 
Their reaction is similar, it will be seen.) 

When questioned, he gave his reply in an 'ugabhoga' context. His first 
composition prior to renunciation was that he desired devotion to his guru, the 
grace of God and renunciation. He succeeded his guru and was benefited by 
the teachings of Vyasaraya of Vijayanagar. 

Prolific in his writings in Sanskrit and kannada, he composed thousands of 
kirtanas and devaranamas under the signature 'Hayavadana'. His songs are 
sung at the Mutts. For the benefit of Tulu speaking people, he composed 
devaranamas in that language too. Wrote Rukminisa Vijaya, a literary 

He lived in Swadi village and entered Brindaban samadi alive. Illustrious 
saints of Hinduism have dismantled their earthly coils so. 



Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar was not only an eminent musician but 
is the summum bonum of many a proverb like 'where there is a will there is a 


way' and 'verbum sapient! sat' (a word enough for a wise man) A Garland details 
how he rose up to the top taming his gruff voice. He might have remained an 
inglorious voice-support but for the taunting words of Panchapakesa Sastri. 

His period was still within the bullock-cart age and he was passing through 
Pudupatti (now in Pudukottai district) in a cart (single or double, bullocks with or 
without horns, it is not stated). His breezy, alapana-oriented, durita-kala mind 
was ill at ease with the tsouka-kala slow movement of the vehicle with its deaf 
driver. How long could a stalwart vocalist remain mute? He asked a pedestrian 
about the distance and there was no response. Ayyar soliloquised, 'So, you are 
also deaf!' The cart was just a furlong further off when a peon stopped the cart 
and led them to a magistrate! Innocent Ayyar could not fathom the reason and 
politely revealed who he was. As if shocked by electricity, the magistrate was 
all respect, recollected the Vidwan's concerts with Palani Krishnier, etc., and 
apologised. The pedestrian was the magistrate himself and had felt insulted for 
having been questioned like a commoner on the road and dubbed as deaf. The 
incident is mentioned here to indicate the fame and renown the maestro had 
enjoyed. If King Udayanan soothed the mad elephant with his play on yazh, 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar conquered the musical world with his chastised and tamed 
voice! Rahmat Khan, a North Indian maestro once said: 

"He has his music in his throat; 
We have it on our thighs.' 

Strangely, Ayyar had it in both as he was a trail-blazer in laya-fortified music 

Parents : Narayana Ayyar & Sitalakshmi. 

Marriage : At the age of twelve. 

Extended musical Nagaswararn Palanivelu, Marudhanaliur Kulandaiswami 

training with ; and Chinna Kulandaiswami 

Melattur Sundara Bhagavatar and 
Venkatarama Bhagavatar. 

Disciples : Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar 

Budalur Krishnamurti Sastrigal, 
Coimbatore Viswanathan, etc. 

Vaidyanatha Ayyar was a vadama (sub-sect) but was the chosen hero of 
vadyama people. He evinced special solicitude for his pupils, purchased the 
same cloth as he wore, encouraged them to sing at concerts and got gifts for 
them. A liberal, he was noble in his outlook in days of asserted primacy of 
vocalists ws-a- vis accompanists. He would even wait for the accompanists to 
arrive and receive them with cordiality taking his role to be just a primus inter 
pares. No wonder that his image was high and Papanasam Sivan chose him as 


Suiamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar recalls Ayyar's rendition 
elaborating the phrase 'nigama cirorttamu'm 'Sogasuga mridanga talamu' (Sri 
Ranjani) alone for an hour and half at Sri Ayyaval Utsav, Tiruvisanallur bringing 
out his innovative, intuitive skills with riotous brikas and graces. He mentions 
that the Melody-King Pushpavanam sat spell-bound. 


Alakshana vidwan known for his celebrated rendition of kritis, Vaidyanatha 
Ayyar was a close friend of the illustrious composer of the revolutionary 
socio-religious opera in tamil Nandanar. He freely used Bharati's songs which 
were popular at his concerts. Suiamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar states 
that the Veena artiste and Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar would play in perfect 
unison delightfully, that he would present veena duet with Tiruvalangadu 
Tyagaraja Dikshitar, that he would sing while playing on veena and that his son 
Veena Sabhesan too was an accomplished player on veena. T.C.A. Chinna 
Singaracharyulu wrote in 1905: 

'Mayuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar is a good lutanist, an able pallavi singer, a 
good vocalist and an able master of gesticulations. It is difficult to see in future 
another of his ability His son plays on lute delightfully and has extraordinary 
skill in swaras.' 

J. VAIDYANATHAN - MRIDANGIST: (b.April 22, 1965) 

Son of Sangita Kalanidhi O.K. Jayaraman, Vaidyanathan had his training 
under Palghat Mani Ayyar and his son T.R. Rajamani, Palghat Kunjumani, 
Dindigul Ramamurti and Tanjore Ramadoss. Had specialised training under 
Dr. T.K. Murthy. He had pursued his training with scholarships from the 
Government of India. Has been having good practice and 'his play of chapu 
sequences turn well and pharns (fast patterns) have excellent clarity 5 . 

Concert tours: U.S.A. , USSR. 

Title; Yuva Kala Bharati by Bharat Kalachar 1 991 . 


Born in a musical family, O.S. Vaidyanathan popularly known as Arun sings 
with a natural flair. Has an impressive tone, range and balance of voice. Had 
his initial training under his father, Sangeetha Bhushanam O.V.Subramaniam 
and then completed Visharad Purna', an integrated course in music at the 
Gandharva Mahavidyalaya, Delhi. He stood first in the diploma course 


'Sangeetha Shiromani' of the Delhi University. 

'Oh Yes' has been giving concerts on All India Radio, Doordarshan, sabhas, 
etc. Arun's musical talents are extensive and varied. He has been presenting 
choral compositions like his own 'Rain' (Misra Kapiand Pantuvarali*) and pieces 

of well-know n composers like Balamurali Krishna and Lalgudi Jayaraman. 

Concert tours: 

Europe, Middle East, USSR, Australia, 

China, Hong Kong, Fiji, North Korea, 

U.K., Mauritius and Afghanistan. 

America and Africa probably are waiting to hear his impressive music! 

* * * 

Father : Kandaswami Devar, Chidambaram 

Vaiyapuri Devar migrated to Mysore and had been accompanying prominent 
musicians. The Maharajah of Mysore honoured him in 1962 and he is the 
recipient of the title 'Mridanga Nada Praveena' from the Tirumalai Tirupati 
Devasthanams. Venkatesa Devar was his guru. 



'A Garland' carries at pages 399-400 the biography of Tiger Varadachariar, 
one of the finest of musical souls of Carnatic music. The magnificence of his 
musical scholarship and the panorama of his multi-dimensional life cry for some 
more details being recorded. 

y Mysore Vasudevacharya recorded of Varadachariar: 

1 The most celebrated master of bhava-bharita sangeetham, enjoyed profound scholar- 
ship, child-like innocence, purity of heart and simple and elegant manners.' 

Veena Balachander wrote six stanzas on Tiger and one is extracted below: 

1 He who commanded the respect of one and all 
Was a giant in size but a soft child at heart. 
While many other musicians might rise or fall, 
His glory, for eternity, will ever remain apart.' 

In the photo at page LXX of 'A Garland ', the Tiger is seated at the centre in 
the first row. It was taken during the annual celebrations of Sri Krishna Bhajana 
Mandiram run by Mandhai Saa. Krishna Ayyar, the author's uncle. It shows the 


stature of Varadaehariar among musicians. S.Y.Krishnaswami paid his tribute to 
the maestro in 'Swatantra' thus: 

1 His approach was romantic. Unending search for newer and yet newer forms for 
variations was his forte - not the chiselled patterns of set beauty.' 

The observations are all true to facts. He did not enjoy a beautiful personality; 
his voice was not melodious. But his vidwat was colossal and his rank among 
musicians was that of Abu Ben Adam. His presence added charm and dignity to 
the assembly. Yet he was not - never - rich and he bore with smile the grinds of 
poverty till Rukmini Devi of Kalakshetra stepped in to patronise him and his end 
is described by James H. Cousins in a letter to Rukmini Devi thus: 

' At 2 p.m., he fell ill and told his attendant that he had his "Celestial Call". He asked 
him to be sung to. ..There was bhajan till the flames ungulfed the mortal remains 
of the Gayaka Vyagra (Musical Tiger).' 

The carnivorous feline quadruped is noted for its ferocity and rapacity. The 
musical tiger was a gentleman non pare/7 of Cardinal Newman's description full 
of grace, warmth, solicitude and musical eminence. The innate joviality of his 
throbbing human heart was infectious. The utter nobility of the genial soul rarely 
betrayed the pangs of economic hardships. Elsewhere mention has been made 
of the surprise of the Tamil savant Meenakshisundaram Pillai when he had the 
luxury of being served with a spoonful of ghee in a frugal vegetarian fare in a 
mutt They are the immortals whom the golden pages of history rich with the 
aroma of their legacy could ill-afford to omit as they constitute the foundation 
and the corner-stone, the flower and fragrance of Indian culture and civilisation. 
It is difficult to spot out such a genial man full of musicianship and human 
grandeur among the present. 

1940 Tiruvaiyaru Aradhana Festival. Tiger and his disciples from Annamalai 
- University stayed in a room and officials occupied the opposite room. Tiger slept 
in the corridor, his 'snoring surpassing recognised sruti and gamaka variations'. 
A Parsi Engineer, while passing him, remarked to his friend: 

I Is this the fellow you call Tiger? 
He makes all sorts of funny noise ! 

A voice responded: 

II Yes, yes. This fellow is the Tiger. 

He can improvise many more noises too!" 

The Parsi had not heard of musicians speaking english and before he could 
collect himself, Tiger had started ex tempore on a scintillating elaboration in raga 
Begada to his further discomfiture. 


Gandhi cap was the universal fashion of those days being a symbol of 
patriotism and Tiger had a natural fascination for it. Jocularly he would say, 
'Before you are capped by others, better do it yourself 5 . But the cap ill-suited his 
figure and gave a grotesque shape reminding friends and admirers of the 
Panchatantra story of the cap merchant and the monkeys. But Tiger was not 
willing to improve his personality at the cost of the cap. Ultimately when 
Vasudevachar came and Tiger wanted him to sing a particular song, the Mysore 
Veteran agreed subject to an unspecified gift. Tiger agreed to it little suspecting 
that Vasudeva would snatch away his cap in a quid pro quo for that single song. 

'Even an elephant is apt to take a false step', runs the proverb. There is no 
such pithy saying vis a vis the Tiger. He was singing Birana Valalichi (Kalyani) 
of Syama Sastri. The percussionist had to align the sruti of his mridangam. 
When Tiger restarted, he inadvertently had jumped to Birana Brova ite. Startled, 
he whispered to his disciple, Vasu, the train stands derailed'. He stopped it 
there at once, says T. Sankaran. 

The musical Kamadenu bore a misleading sobriquet and dished out soulful 
music, spread musical knowledge and extended exuberant conviviality. He was 
a great man and a great musician. In fact all the three brothers - Tiger, Veenai 
Krishnamachariar and Srinivasa Ayyangar were all filtered eminent men of 
culture and music. 


(July 1 5, 1 91 5 - August 1 6, 1 991 ) 

Music wooed Patriotism and both echoed in unison in the family. Large was 
the family and total was its participation in the Independence Movement 
including jail terms. Musicians frequented their home which bubbled with musical 
activity like the houses of O.K. Pattammal, S. Rajam-S. Balachander and 
T. Lakshmana Pillai. Advocate V. Srinivasachari was a flautist; V. Ananthachary 
took to veena and played Bhagavad Gita to Gandhiji at the Wardha Ashram 
daily. Some took to violin. Vinjamuri Varadaraja lyengar, the last of the thirteen 
children of V. Bhuvanachariar and Kanakavalli was a vocalist. He was born at 

Varadaraja lyengar, a Bachelor of Arts of the Andhra University, had his initial 
training in music during 1920-1933 under Shankara Sastri, a disciple of 
Tiruvottiyur Tyagayyar, a stalwart musician-composer and grand-disciple of 
Tyagaraja. lyengar had his advanced training from Tiger Varadachariar from 
1934 and moved with him to Chidambaram after taking a diploma in music from 
the Madras University. Like G.N.B., he had Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar as 


Made his debut at the age of seven at Guntur before the celebrated Veena 
Seshanna. Known for his delectable swara exposition and tana, he had also 
imbibed the innovative fresh approach of the guru, the Tiger. Well-versed in 
many languages, his sahitya pronunciation exuded clarity. A firm believer in 
classical traditions, he was widely respected. Had given performances all over 
India and abroad, at palaces and in sabhas. In rendition of songs and alapana 
in rag^ Tod/ 1 / he was in the distinguished company of Todi Sitaramayyar, Todi 
Kotiswara Ayyar and Todi T.N. Rajarathinam. His guru Shankara Sastri has 
extolled his talents and expertise in special poems composed by him. When 
Pushpavanam did not arrive Ariyakudi steppech'n to give the concert to shine 
forth for decades as the top musician. Likewise G.N. Balasubramaniam acted 
as stepney and rose to the top. When Ariyakudi could not give the concert, he 
himself asked Varadaraja lyengar in 1935 at the Rasika Ranjani Sabha to take 
his place, with Rajamanickam Pillai on violin and Pudukkottai Dakshinamurti 
Pillai on mridangam. That was the measure of his confidence in the musicianship 
of Varadaraja lyengar. For one of his concerts, Chowdiah did not arrive. 
Varadaraja lyengar took Flute Maestro T.R. Mahalingam to play on violin with 
Palani Subbudu to assist on mridangam. It was a concert by titans. Known for 
his weighty classicism and traditional approach, he was popular. His repertoire 
was vast. Stalwart violinists and percusfsionists have provided accompaniment 
to him. His respect for his preceptors was so high that he withdrew his recordings 
of O! Jagadamba (Anandabhairavi) and Sri Subramanyaya (Kambhoji) in 
deference to the views of Tiger. Dr. Vinjamuri Varadaraja lyengar Memorial 
Society, Hyderabad now seeks to propagate the ideals of lyengar. 

Posts held: 


Founder-Principal of the College of Carnatic Music, Hyderabad 1 952-1953 
Producer of Music, All India Radio, Hyderabad 1 956-1964 

First General Secretary, Sri Tyagaraja Sangeetha Vidwat Samajam, Mylapore, 

Madras 1 946 onwards. 

He was connected in various capacities with Tyagaraja Samajam, Nellore, 
Ganakala Parishat, Rajahmundry, Tyagaraja Brahmotsava Sabha, Tiruvaiyaru, 
State Sangita Nataka Academy and a host of others. He introduced on the All 
India Radio programmes like Bhaktiranjani, Sangita Sikshana, Vadya Brinda, 

Concert tours abroad : Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and U.S.A. (thrice) 

Compositions ; Tana varnas, kritis, tillanas and a javali. Has given lec- 

tures and demonstrations as a musicologist 

Disc recordings ; Gave two initially. As his mentor, the 'Tiger' was against 

discs, he cancelled the recordings and desisted in 
deference to his opinion 

Honours and Titles: 

Gold Medal From Music Academy, Madras 1 936 


Gana Vidya Visarada 1 938 

Gayakaratna 1 941 

Gana Kalanidhi 1950 

Gayaka Sarvabhouma 1 956 

Sangita Jyoti 1 961 

Horsy Doctorate From Columbia University 1 964 

Gana Kaia Prapurna From A. P. Sangeet Academy 1 971 

Gana Lahari 1 981 

Sangita Ratnakara - 1 982 

Gana Vidya Parangatha From H.H. Pushpagiri Swamy 

The multi-faceted artiste had to withdraw from giving concerts when his voice 
was affected by an accident in 1 962. He had trained many and was an authority 
in pallavi singing. Adevout soul, a day prior to his demise, he called his grandson 
and disciple to sing specially for him 'Sri Raghukula Mandu' (Hamsadwani) as if 
he felt a call from the Infinite! 


Place of birth : Cheyyaru, Madurantakam taluk. 

Parentage : Veena Raghavayya - Father 

Veena Vij'aya Varadayya - Grandfather. 

Vijaya Varadayya had composed (preliminary) practice songs and swara 
methods. Veena Ramanujayya and Veena Ethirajayya were ancestors. 
Varadayya, after the demise of his father in 1 888 or so, went over to the pilgrim 
centre Thiruvadigai and acquired musical skill and knowledge by associating 
himself with Chidambaram Krishna Ayyar, Tacchur Singaracharyulu and 
Coimbatore Raghavayya - all celebrities. He learnt Sanskrit and telugu and took 
interest in Dikshitar kritis. He established contacts with religious and political . 
leaders. Composed the varnam Imthichekka Tanamu (Ananda Bhairavi - Adi) 
when requested to do so on the spot at Gadwal (Hyderabad). 

He was quite appropriately the first veena teacher in the Music College of 
the Annamalai University. His disciples include his sons R.V. Raghavan and 
Prof. R.V. Krishnan and Cuddalore Srinivasa Ayyangar. 

Varadayya had composed about twenty varnams and fifty kritis under the 
signature 'Adhikapura Vasa' after the name of the presiding deity of Tiruvadigai. 
His father Vijaya Varadayya's compositions include the Sapta Tala Alankaradhi 
Swara Sahityam 'Hah Charanamula'. Included in Balar Isai Malar of the Music 
Academy. The artistes are descendants of Bobbili Kesavayya and have been 
popular artistes. 



Father & Guru : Rarnaswamayya, Vina Vidwan & Tanjore Court official. 

p ost held : Commander-in-Chief of the Tanjore Native Regiment 

under Sarabhoji II and Shivaji II 
Was associated with the Library and was in charge of 

He learnt vina and piano, mastered english, Western music and violin play 
too Varahappa was called 'Darbar Pakshi 1 . There is a choultry in his name to 
feed children and travellers on the northern bank of River Vadavar at Tanjore. 
Dr. S. Seetha says that eminent vainikas like Tsallagali Viraraghavayya, 
Tsallagali Gopalayya and Dasavadyam Krishnayya belonged to his family. His 
disciples included Sri Ramayya Dikshit, Parameswara Bhagavatar, Lakshmana 
Gosayee and Parameshwara Gosayee. The hands that wielded the gun 
handled books and musical instruments also and Pandit was 
Commander-in-Chief for the regulars and the artistes too! 

* * * 


F a t ner ; Mysore Srinivasa Varadachariar. 

Varahaswami started on his musical training in his fifteenth year and made 
his debut in 1957 at Bangalore. He was a very prominent gottuvadyam vidwan 
in Karnataka like Budalur Krishnamurti Sastri in Tamil Nadu. Was having wide 
practice. He taught gottuvadyam through the All India Radio too in 1 942 ! 

* * * 


(May 28, 1865 -May 17, 1961) 

'A Garland' carries at pages 403-404 biographical particulars of 
Vasudevacharya. Great men sometimes indulge in absurdities probably in 
moments they discard the shackles of constraint and decorum driven by an 
oppressive feeling of having to submit to life-long self-discipline. It is a passing 
backlash or phase from maturity to immaturity, from adult to childhood. In the 
biography of Bidaram Krishnappa, mention has been made of the failure of 
Krishnappa and Vasudevacharya to admit before their patron Maharajah of 
Mysore of their ignorance of the song 'Mahishasuramardini' (Narayani) and how 
the shrewd ruler exposed it with grace. After his scintillating concert at 
Coimbatore, in a strange quirk of mischief, Seshanna told the audience that 
Vasudeva was a great vidwan who sang admirably. Failing to catch the joke 
behind the remark, Vasudevacharya started singing and brought copious ridicule 
on his head and was forced to wind up too. That was a watershed in his life. 


1 1 hung down my head in shame. Seshanna was bubbling with laughter. ! felt hot, and 
angry. I decided to switch over from sangeetha to sahitya to establish myself as a 
sahitya vidwan at least Extempore I composed a Sanskrit verse and recited it. Some 
spoke words of encouragement. The host honoured me. Seshanna stared at me! 'It 
did not stop at that. Later arguments and counter-arguments developed between us on 
meeting my travel expenses. Under a sacred aswatha tree on roadside, we quarrelled 
and a crowd gathered. ' 

What happened is narrated by Vasudeva thus; 

11 Finally an elderly person settled it that Seshanna was to bear the charges one way. 
The earlier ridicule hurt me deeply. I requested Seshanna to accept me as a disciple. 

1 You and music are poles apart. 
You are fond of eating. Eat nicely and feel contented. ' 

Finally he yielded subject to a bet. Seshanna was travelling in the second 
class and I by the third. At each stop, I should go to him, learn a few avartana 
of 'Chalamelara' Sankarabharana - Ata tala varna and go back to my carriage 
to memorise. At Bangalore Station I sang the whole piece without blemish. 
Seshanna broke down. 

'Acharya, I apologise to you. Forgive me. I had the conceit to think that I 
alone could master a varna in a day. Believe me honestly, when my days are 
over, my place shall be yours! 11 

Mischief, ridicule and quarrel gave place to ecstatic affability between (Adi) 
Sesha and Vasudeva! 

Vasudevacharya's description of his gurukulavasa with Patnam Subramania 
Ayyar is highly revealing. Here it is : 

1 The guru had two sishyas, Parameswariah and Kempegowda. My share of the duties 
was to wash Guruji's and his wife's clothes in the river, to wash the copper pots and 
store drinking water in them, to wash the pooja utensils, to make the bed for guruji and 
press his feet till he fell asleep. By nature I was lazy but became used to the chores. 
Occasionally I had to go with Kempegowda to take cattle for grazing. Guruji had not 
commenced teaching me though some months had gone by. I was to get up and 
provide tambura sruti for his sadhaka, to listen attentively when he taught Parames- 
wariah, to be with Guruji when he was composing and go with him for concerts.' 

One day, Guruji said, Vasu, don't think I am not aware of your desire to learn. Do not 
feel that you have spent all your time in vain. The benefit of careful and constant listening 
can hardly be exaggerated.' 

Thus satisfying Vasu of his intentions, he clarified: 

'I have now taken you round the corridors of the temple (of music). All that 
remains to be done is to take you to the sanctum sanctorum and show you the 
moola vigraha. That I will do tomorrow!' (That was gurukulavasa!) 


It was a rain of nector on a hillock of sugar to young Vasu! Here is a parallel 
from Yehudi Menuhin giving an account of .his violin master Georges Enesco: 

11 A lesson was an inspiration, not a stage reached in the course of instruction. 
It was the making of music. What I received from him was the note transformed 
into vital message, the phrase given shape and meaning, the structure of music 
made vivid." 


Born at Neyyatinkara near Travancore, Vasudevan obtained the diplomas 
'Ganabhushanam' and 'Sangita Vidwan' from Swati Tirunal Music Academy and 
has been honoured with the President's and other medals. In 1 970, he took up 
specialised training under Ramnad Krishnan. 

During 1964-1974, he was Assistant Professor, RLV Music Academy, 
Tirupunithura and joined the All India Radio as Staff Artiste in 1974. Has been 
giving performances in sabhas and elsewhere. 

R. VEDAVALLI - VOCALIST & PEDAGOGUE: (b.November 9, 1935) 

The vocalist-pedagogue R. Vedavalli is a picture of guru-bhakti and she 
struggles to get at many more superlatives to describe the merits, expertise and 
eminence of her gurus, Sangita Kalanidhis Srirangam Ayyangar of Madura 
Brothers and Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar. She claims that she was highly 
fortunate in getting these stalwarts as her masters. On the demise of brother 
Srinivasa Ayyangar, Srirangam Ayyangar gave up concerts and settled at 
Mannargudi to give tuitions only. 'He would come in his self-driven single bullock 
cart. On hearing me sing during his tuitions in a nearby house, he took me as a 
disciple. Certainly he did it not for money. He was a great man and he took a 
liking for me, then aged seven years only and for my voice. He went to the extent 
of purchasing a harmonium for me and started his lessons on an auspicious day. 
When I think of him, I feel spiritual exhilaration. He would not like the lessons to 
be reduced to writing. All was oral.' This is her account of the first stage (upto 
varnam) of her training. 

As her father Ramaswamy Ayyangar was transferred to Madras, she took 
her tuitions for a short while under one Naganatha Ayyar. Then commenced 
during 1 949-50 an enduring glorious study under Sangita Kalanidhi Mudicondan 
Venkatarama Ayyar, who just then went over to Madras to join as the Vice 
Principal of the Music College run by the Music Academy. Vedavalli joined the 
one year diploma course. She used to go to VenKatarama Ayyar's residence also 
regularly for training. She continued it with a scholarship she got. From 9 a.m. 


to 8 p.m., she would be with him, follow him to concerts and even assist him in 
classes. It was gurukulavasa in content and effect. He would present her with 
knotty problems along with lessons and instructions like 

Viralil ponal, Rural pogum. ' 

(If you concentrate on beats, melody will be lost) 

'Sangeetham first; sahitya next.' 
(Melody first, lyrics next) 

Kathiri chedi kattai thattuvadu pol 

(Like the development of stumps in brinjal plant, 
stagnation should not develop in music.) 

'Follow my advice and not my practice.' 

Both her gurus were laya experts and pallavi specialists. Venkatarama 
Ayyar was an Ocean of Musical Wisdom ', says she. 

Vedavalli was born at Rajamannargudi. With her rich training, she joined the 
teaching staff of the Music College of the Music Academy in 1968 vice 
Jayamma. After thirteen years, she joined the Central College of Carnatic 
Music, Madras and continues. 

Among her disciples, she mentions Ramani. AIRVainika, Abhiramasundari 
and Catherine, a dedicated and successful French student. She was Preceptor 
under the Government of India Scheme for Scholarships. She states that 
alankaram in upper octave and swarajati were not taught in yester decades and 
that gamakas were imbibed by following the guru. A successful teacher with 
mature scholarship, Vedavalli combines dignified rendition with emotive music, 

Honours and Titles: 

Certificate of Merit & T.T.K. Award from the Music Academy, Madras. 
Sangita Choodamani from Sri Krishna Gana Sabha (1 985) 

Gana Kala Bharati from Narada Gana Sabha, Karur (1 992) 


(191 4 -April 16,1989) 

A distinguished percussionist, he was Lecturer for Mridangam in Bangalore 
University. He was honoured with the Karnataka Sangeeta Nritya Academy 
Award and the title of Gana Kala Bhushan by the Karnataka Gana Parishat. 


K. VEERAMANI - DEVOTIONAL MUSIC ARTISTE: (August 13, 1936 - 1990) 

Born at / Madras, 

of M.K. Krishnakunjaram Ayyar and Bhagirati Ammal. 

Veeramani hailed from a highly distinguished family of eminent tamil 
scholar-composers like Kavikunjara Bharati and Kotiswara Ayyar (both 
covered in S A Garland}. Had his musical training under uncle Nagamani, 
Chernbai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar, Sirkazhi Sadasivam Pillai, Madurai 
G.S.Mani, etc. For devotional songs, he was the most sought-after musician 
and enjoyed dedication and expertise. The large number of his disc recordings, 
with prominent lady-artistes and without, are very popular. Has been a playback 
singer for films. Raji and Krishna, his sons continue the tradition. 

Titles and Honours: 

Gandharva Gana Jothi by Srila Sri Santhananda Swamigal. 
Arulisai Mamani by Navasakti Vinayakar Trust, Mylapore 
Sabari Thenisai Mamani by lyyappa Bhakta Sabha, Salem-ldaipadi. 
Karumari Gana Thendral by Madras Prabath Cultural Academy 
Kaiaimamani by Tamil Nadu Eyal isai Nataka Mandram in 1982. 


(20th Century Early part) 

Veerasami was at Kumbakonam and was known for his honeyed melody and 
delectable rendition. Sulamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar wrote in Ka//olong 
back that dead wood would spring back to life if Veerasami played, that he was 
able to bring enchanting melody and that he was very popular. Srivanjiam 
Govindan provided percussion support on tavil to him, 

Pandanallur has presented many renowned dancers and dance-masters. 

T.S. VEMBU AYYAR - VOCALIST: (b. April 21, 1916) 

Place of birth : Tiruvalangadu, Tanjore district. The village has a good 

musical past 

Parents ; Sankaranarayana Vajpeyar & Nagalakshmi Ammal. 

Musical training under : Tiruvalangadu Sundaresa Ayyar, an eminent violinist 

Umayalpuram Swaminatha Ayyar, a Sangita Kalanidhi. 
Turaiyur Rajagopala Sarma and 
Madurai Mani Ayyar, a Sangita Kalanidhi 
(1939 onwards). 

Debut : April 1 945 at Mayavaram with his guru Sundaresa Ayyar 

on violin and Kuttalam Sivavadivel Pillai on mridangam. 


From 1940 to 1969, he was providing voice support to his guru and relative, 
Madurai Mani Ayyar and later was giving concerts on the All India Radio and 
sabhas. Since 1986, he has stopped giving concerts. T.V. Sankaranarayanan, 
the popular vocalist now, is his son. Vembu Ayyar is literally a link between Mani 
Ayyar, the colossus and Sankaranarayanan, the maestro-in-the-making. 


Kavirayar had composed the Tiruchendur Sthala Puranam in 899 verses. 
When Vadamalaiyappa Pillayan, a chief under Tirumalai Nayakar recovered the 
icon of Muruga from the sea, Venrirnalai Kavirayar composed a song in raga 
Madhyamavati starting with the lines, 'Eppodhu Devareer Ezhundaruliyadhu...' 
giving the date of restoration as 1654 A.D. (When the idol of Rama was lost, 
Tyagaraja is reputed to have sung the piece Nenendu Vetukutura - 
Harikambhoji, meaning O! Hari, where can I search for you? Tyagaraja's is 
before the recovery of the idol while Kavirayar's relates to post-recovery.) 


Born in a family of musicians, Venkataraju had his training in percussion 
under his father Pedda Ramaswamy and Kakinada Muramalla Gopalaswamy. 
His grandfather Venkayee was also a mridangist. Started accompanying 
Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu and taught mridangam at the Music College, 
Vizianagaram for eleven years. He was on the Audition Board, All India Radio. 

Honours and Titles: 

Award From Andhra Pradesh Sangita Nataka Academy 

Certificate of Merit From the Music Academy, Madras in 1 975 

Award From the Sangit Natak Akademy, Delhi in 1 979 

Sapthagiri Sangita 

Vidwan Mani From the Tyagaraja Trust, Tirupati in 1 992. 


'Majestic gamaka-laden voice with perfect sruti and laya' marked the 
rendition of Kundrakudi Venkatarama Ayyar who came of a musical family. Lived 
at Sivaganga, Had his musical training under his father, Subba Ayyar. He had 
choreographed many songs including those of Vedanayagam Pillai, the 
well-known tamil poet- scholar-Munsif. Ayyar's rendition is praised in lavish 
terms by Kaviyogi Suddhananda Bharati. His daughter, Balambal was in the All 
India Radio, Madras. Sangita Nataka Sabha had honoured him. 



Was born at Tinniyam village, Tiruchirapalli district, of Vaidyanatha Sastrigal. 
Had his training in mridangam and vocal under Tinniyam Sethurama Ayyar. 
Venkatarama Ayyar had special training under Tiruvaiyaru Subramania Ayyar in 
laya intricacies. Made his debut in 1912 and has accompanied all prominent 
musicians. Ayyar earned the unique distinction of being both a vocalist and a 
mridangist (now TV. Gopalakrishnan enjoys the privilege) and was honoured 
with a Certificate of Merit in 1959 by the Music Academy. He had shaped the 
destinies of many young aspirants. Was a very accomplished, competent artiste. 
Commended respect for his deft fingering, purity of rhythm and tonal creations. 
His demonstration of Panchagati Mora on mridangam before the Experts 
Committee was very much appreciated. 


The Art of Playing Mridangam 
Pallavi Ratnamala. 

* * * 

DISCOURSER: (February 21, 1880 -) 

Place of birth : Ennapadam in Cochin State. 

Parents : Padmanabha Ayyar & Sitalakshmi Ammal in a family 

devoted to the twins music and Sanskrit 

Musical training : Under his elder brother Ratna giriswara Bhagavatar 

from his eleventh year and Noorani Parameswara 
Bhagavatar (Ayya). 

The brothers were giving concerts as duo and after the demise of the elder, 
Venkatarama Bhagavatar was giving solo and musical discourses also. 
Bhagavatar attended the All India Music Conference at Baroda in 1912 with 
Veenai Krishnamachariar and others. In earlier years, he had acted as second 
to musical discoursers. 

He was giving quite a large number of concerts and was honoured by 
Kollengode, Cochin, Travancore and Mysore Samasthanams. Was honoured 
by the Music Academy in 1959 with a Certificate of Merit. Has composed a 
ragamalika in 108 ragas. 



(19th Century I half) 

Melattur near Tanjore is a fine specimen of a cultured village which has 
mothered titans like Tsoukam Virabhadrayya, guru to the renowned Ramaswami 
Dikshitar Creativity adopted this place for prosperity in the twin arts of music 
and dance. The extensive flat terrain with lushy surroundings, interwoven and 
intersected by bunds big and small symbolic of gamaka modulations - pathways 
and cart-tracks - long and short denoting extensive raga delineations - lend 
beauty and charm. The green paddy fields in diverse geometric shapes illustrate 
the variety of compositions like kritis, javalis, tillanas, etc; the serpentine 
channels ought to have inspired swara prastaras; and the majestic river abutting 
the village on the north bringing in the rejuvenating waters from the 
Tanjore-Tiruvaiyaru Belt should signify the great traditions and the boundaries 
indicated by Lakshana sangeetha. 

Sevappa Nayak, Viceroy of Vijayanagar at Tanjore, set up an independent 
principality thus founding the Nayak Dynasty in 1572. He was succeeded by 
Acchyutappa and then by Reghunatha (1600 - c.1634), a liberal patron of arts 
and literature. He granted Melattur as inam to 501 brahmins with the specific 
intention of promoting art. That led to the birth of the distinct art of Nataka Mela 
which is celebrated annually there. It is neither a drama nor bharatanatya, nor 
musical concert nor discourse. It is a combination of all well-balanced by 
hereditary artistes and enacted. 

If Bhama Kalapam is the sheet anchor of Kuchipudi, 'Prahlada Char/tram' 
is the prize-play of Nataka Mela of Melattur. This and nine others like Rukmini 
Kalyanam, Harischandra, etc., were composed by Venkataramana Sastri. The 
dance drama he introduced based on puranic themes combined the grace and 
aesthetics of bhava, raga and tala, the three essentials of sangeetha. Sastri was 
playwright, choreographer, trainer, director and manager of the group which 
performed. His plays were all in telugu and Sanskrit. Markandeya Charitram, 
Dhruva Charitram and Sita Kalyanam are among the natakas Venkataramana 
Sastri composed. 

Subbarama Dikshitar in his Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini says that Sastri 
was eminent in composing in kaisiki riti, the most graceful of the styles of 
composing. Dr. V. Raghavan says that the sampradaya of I/sen/ swarajati goes 
back ultimately to Sastri and that the particular line of creativity was important 
for yakshagana. In the natakas, rakti ragas have been mostly used. It is seen 
that Sastri was attracted by and laid stress on youth, the creative period as is 
seen from his selection of Prahlada, Markandeya, Dhruva, Sita and Rukmini for 
his themes. After all he was moulding the youth of the area for dramatis 
personae and no wonder, he felt in tune with the 'Spirit of Youth - the Eternal 
Youth of Music and Dance'. The Mela is held during the Narasimha Jayanti at 


Melattur and very occasionally at Saliyamangalam, Uthukadu, Nallur and 
Thepperumanallur. Uthukadu gave its Venkatasubba Ayyar of Krishna Gana 
fame and the last village gave a 'Sivan', the symbol of charity who fed millions 
of hungry people. Saliyamangalam did not follow the dance-dramas of Sastri but 
those of Bharatam Panchanatha who lived there and wrote his plays in telugu. 

Dance-drama has had a hoary antiquity in the Cauvery Delta. Set in 
Pat/yan?(verse) in various metres with descriptive passages, narrative links, 
dialogues and songs, the dramas present the characters dancing and gesturing 
to bring out the emotions and meaning. They are enacted in the open in the 
street near the temple. The audience occupy house-steps, pials and the open. 
( I had done it in 1 961 .)The happy wedding of story with narration, music, dance 
and exposition was the delight of the area though in recent decades, the interest 
is less due to the presence of more sophisticated modern avenues for 
entertainment. The organisers have made minor improvements to suit the 
challenge of the times. Probably ladies ktoo are likely to be enlisted to play 
female roles. It is to the credit of Sastri that his nataka melas are still held in 
spite of the aggressive counter-pulls facing them. 

Venkataramana Sastri was the son of Gopala Krishna Raya and a disciple 
of Lakshmanarya. A great composer, vocalist, sarangi player, actor(lady role) 
and a contemporary of Tyagaraja, Sastri is one of the luminaries of the Golden 
Age of Carnatic music. 


Sonti Venkatasubbiah was an eminent vocalist and composer who adorned 
the court at Tanjore with distinction and fame. His son Venkataramaniah was 
equally a distinguished vidwan and was guru to Tyagaraja. Mysore 
Vasudevacharya records a narration of Vina Subbanna that on hearing the 
arrival of Sonti Venkataramaniah , the Mysore Palace Vidwan and Counsellor 
Venkatasubbiah, son of Kuppiah received him at the door and requested him to 
sing Dwijavanti raga. Visitor Venkataramaniah picked up his tambura suddenly 
and walked out to come back a year later and give a thrilling rendition in 
Dwijawanti. The captivated Venkatasubbiah ran to the palace and fetched 
Mummadi Krishnaraja Wodeyarthe ruler to hear the fascinating rendition, which 
he thought was for royalty and gods to hear. The generous king retained 
Venkataramaniah, made him a Court artiste on an honorarium of sixty Varahas 
and maintained him in comfort. He honoured him further with 
kanakabhishekam. It is said that Venkataramaniah's wife performed sati when 
her husband died and sponsor Venkatasubbiah who lived a life of affluence 
made generous gifts on the occasion of the last rites to Venkataramaniah 
couple in token of his great respect. 


Vasudevacharya further records that during the reign of Krishnaraja 
Wodeyar IV, the ragalakshana of raga Atana came up for discussion. On the 
issue whether Antaragandara was permissible, Vina Seshanna explained that 
he had been taught a lakshana geetha in Atana composed by Venkataramaniah 
in praise of Venkatasubbiah in which antaragandhara had been used and 
demonstrated it by singing the geetha. 

It is unfortunate that fuller details of such stalwarts are not available. 


Son of V.K. Krishna Ayyangar, Venkataramanujam belongs to a musical 
family. Had his training under his father and then under Thenmatam 
Varadachariar, T. Krishnaswamidas and Veena Krishnamachariar. Made his 
debut in his thirteenth year and appeared for the All India Radio in 1950. Had 
played duo with T.K. Jayarama Ayyar, an eminent violinist. Was Reader in Violin 
at the University of Benares and there he started a gurukula, 

Publication : Tyagaraja (in hindi) 

Sangita Man! Mala 

Honours : By the Madras Music Academy in 1 984, 

Venkataramanujam is noted for the pleasing aesthetic rich tone of his violin 
play. Has tuned Tulsidas compositions and has composed songs. 


Grandson of the Asthana Vidwan of Mysore, Karigiri Rao and son of 
Narasinga Rao, Venkata Rao learnt veena from his grandfather and has 
travelled extensively. His lectures on the science and art of veena play are 
weighty and he has composed gitas, varnas, kritis, etc. 

LAVANI VENKATA RAO - COMPOSER: (19th century middle) 

Author of the famous Bahattara Mela Ragamalika in marathi, Venkata Rao 
was a fine composer and musician. Asthana vidwan in the court of Shivaji II of 
Tanjore, his magnum opus was set to music by Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, who 
later composed one in Sanskrit to free himself from the cult of 'narastutf (praise 
of man). The Melaragamalika uses 72 mela names from Kanakangi to 
Rasikapriya.. Vaidyanatha Ayyar has introduced chittaswaras to each section. 

Lavani, the word, is described as a variety of folk songs in marathi. Many 
sonas in tamil too have been comoosed in like stvle in criso eatchv tunes. 



1 A Garland' presents the biography of this eminent composer of Krishna 
Gana songs and the Navavarana kritis. When the Bard of Uthukadu 
Venkatasubba Ayyar died, Syama Sastri was a child of three years and the other 
two of the Trinity were yet to be born. Since Venkatasubba Ayyar occupies an 
unique place in the line of divine minstrels and composers in tamil and Sanskrit, 
a few more facts are presented here. 

While his love of Krishna was total and without a parallel, his bhakti for 
Muruga too is seen to be non pare/7 since he throws open his own sublime heart 
to Him to provide a warm, human, affectionate abode - the seventh. Having 
done so, he extols Muruga as 'Or Ezhu Padai Veedu Kanda' - a lustrous 
imagination. Having surrendered his heart to Muruga and his soul to Krishna, 
Ayyar lived a sublimated life of a lofty recluse. 'Rhythmic excellence and 
soul-filling music of his has all the elements of bharata natya like alarippu, 
sabdas, jatiswaram, varnam, javali, tillana-jatis and varnamettus and have 
therefore become the favourite of dancers', say Alamelu and Seetharaman, 
scions of the Uthukadu family. Rudrapatnam N.Tyagarajan mentions that the 
Uthukadu maestro wrote Rudra Sabdam, Nandana Geeta, Rajagopala 
Nityotsavam, Kalinga Nartana Prabhavam and Sri Krishna Ganam with a part 
in kriti form known as Raasa padam. No signature has been adopted for his 
compositions which are all his dedication to his favourite gods, The Oothukadu 
Venkatakavi Academy, Madras 600 004 constituted in 1988 proposes to 
propagate his works. The rose faded out long back but its fragrance has crossed 
the frontiers of his native land 225 years after his lifetime. That is a tribute to his 
amaranthine songs, their beauty and vitality. 

Son of Vadula Ramachandra and Kamala Narayani, Ayyar was born in the 
month of Aipasi (Saptami-Makham star) (October - November) at Mannargudl 
He had learnt elementary music from Pooranur Natesa Bhagavatar alias Raja 
Bhagavatar and could find none to teach him further and ultimately found his 
'manasikha' guru in the Lord Himself. 

' Privilege of a classmate went to Kuchela; 
Fortune smiled on Kalingan to provide the dancing pad; 
Vijayan was favoured for the Bhagawad Gita discourse; 
Sankeertan is reserved for me to hear', he claims. 

Needamangalam Krishnamoorti Bhagavatar gets the full credit for the 
propagation and providing notation for the Uthukadu songs. He says that Ayyar 
was blessed with God vision when singing - 

Puna/ Peru Vellat Tamizh - an agavarpa 

Idu Oru Thiramamo - in Begad a and 

Kayambu Vannane N ilium - in M an i rang. 


Ayyar has 'followed the kriti pattern of the earlier composers (Purandara 
Dasa and his elder contemporary Annamacharya) and the kannigal pattern 
(number of stanzas sung to the same tune) of the Divya Prabandham of the 
earlier Alwars and sollukattus and sahityas for them are in abundance in his 
compositions'. (Prof. K.R. Rajagopalan) 

Once the Tanjore Court was discussing the merits of raga 
Varunapriya' (24th mela)which is credited with bringing rains. It is said 
that it should be sung under the jujube (ilandai) tree or at the north-west 
corridor of a temple or a place south of a vanni tree. Venkatasubba Ayyar 
was requested to prove the efficacy of the raga, 'Mega Rajumam' is the 
preliminary raga to attract white clouds. When Mela Ranjani raga is 
sung, the clouds turn black. Rains start and continue as long as the 
musician sings 'Varunapriya' and the audience stays put enjoying the 
downpour of melody-inducted rains and rain-soaked melody. Ayyar 
proved it and the ruler was thrilled. Venkatasubba Ayyar was a Tyagaraja 
in life who had sacrificed everything and what could the ruler present him 
with? Venkatasubba was placed in a palanquin and was taken round the 
temple with the ruler presenting his broad shoulders to bear it on one side! 
Krishnamoorti Bhagavatar avers that this unique honour had been 
extended only to Swami Vivekananda by the Rajah of Jaipur (and the 
Rajah of Ramanathapuram by drawing the chariot) and a saint honoured 
likewise by the Rajah of Benares using a palanquin. 

Venkatasubba Ayyar went upto the Narmada River with two of his disciples 
- Pozhagudi Jagannathan and Annavasal Nilakanta Makhi and embraced 
immortality. Thirty-seven out of his 289 songs have been published with notation 
and seventy-nine without. His idol is kept in the Uthukadu temple. What is now 
required is, perhaps, a regular annual aradhana.', opines Prof. K.R. Rajagopalan 
in Shanmukha. 

The poet, musician and mystic was a life-long celibate. R.Rangaramanuja 
Ayyangar records that the songs were all preserved in huge bundles of palm 
leaves lodged in earthern pots and passed on for seven generations among his 
brothers' families and brought to light only at the dawn of this century. Ayyar is 
a fragrant link between Purandara Dasa and Kshetragna and the Carnatic Trinity, 


Son of Sampige Ramayya and Gundamma, Venkatasubbiah learnt violin 
under Samanna, made his debut in his eighteenth year and had accompanied 
distinguished top vocalists like Tiger Varadachariar and Vasudevachariar. He is 
reputed to be highly talented in rendition of kritis and elaboration of ragas, 



Hailed from Ayyampettai in Tanjore district. A scholar in Sanskrit, telugu, 
marathi and sourashtra and well-versed in music, he was honoured by Shivaji 
Maharaja of Tanjore with the title of Venkata Suri'. A staunch disciple of 
Wallajahpet Venkataramana Bhagavatar, prime disciple of Tyagaraja, he has 
authored many works such as 

i". A Sanskrit translation of Nauka Charitram. His disciple Salem Puttah 
Azhagarayyar has translated it into sourashtra. 

ii. Sourashtra Ramayana following Arunachala Kavirayar's Rama Natakam. 
This earned him the honorific of 'Sourashtra Kavi Chakravarti' 
Prof. Sambamurti says, 'His charming and racy style, his poetic gifts and 
imagery and his capacity for vivid and colourful portrayal of incidents are 
all patent in this work'. 

Mysore Sadashiva Rao, Sathur Fiddle Kuppuswami Ayyar, Chittoor Kanjira 
Radhakrishnayyan and his brother Jalra Ramayyar and Rayavelur Pallavi 
Ellayya (an artist whose pictures are reportedly available) were among his 
co-pupils in the Wallajahpet line. He preserved for posterity the dates of birth of 
his guru and of Tyagarajah on a cadjan leaf which helped in determining their 
periods correctly.- 

* * * 


Son of Yella Ramanathan, Venkateswara Rao had his training under Yella 
Somanna and made his debut at the age of seven. He has provided percussive 
accompaniment to prominent Hindustani and Carnatic artistes. He is Member, 
Syllabus Committee, Andhra Pradesh State Technical Education Board and 
Chief Examiner for Diploma and Certificate candidates. He has been coaching 
a large number of students. 

He has set up a world record of non-stop mridangam play for 26.5 hours. 
Got the 'Hoso Bunka' Award from Indonesian authorities for his 'Siva 
Thandavam 1 and a National Award for his 'Nava Mridanga 1 concert in pallavi set 
in various patterns. 


Was born at Srikakulam and qualified himself in Sanskrit and telugu getting 
'Ubhayabasha Praveena' of Andhra University. Venkateswara Sarma worked 
as telugu pandit for thirty years. Adiscipleof Parupalli Ramakrishnayya Pantulu, 
Sarma was giving concerts since the second decade of this century. 


Venkateswara Sarma has been a Member, Central Music Audition Board, All 
India Radio and Examiner in Music for A.P. Government and Andhra University. 
Was Head of Gurukula, Vijayawada started by Andhra Pradesh Nataka 
Academy. Has translated standard Sanskrit treatises into telugu. 

In appreciation of his services, the Music Academy, Madras honoured him 
with a Certificate of Merit in 1 962. 


Was born : at Karerumuthur of Mattakalappu, Ceylon, 

; of Sami Thambiar and Mannammai. 

Qualifications : B.Sc, (London) 

Diploma from the Government Engineering College 
Pandithar of Madurai Tamil Sangham. 

Posts held : Teacher, St Michael College, Mattakalappu. 

Lecturer, StPatric College. 

Prof & Head of Department of Tamil, Ceylon University 
and then Annamalai University (1931-33) 

Prior to his initiation and joining the Rarnakrishna Mission in 1924, he was 
known as Mayilvahanar. He started the Arya-Dravida Basha Development 
Sangham, translated many works including Tagore's Gitanjali, edited the 
prominent journal Prabhutha Bharata during 1939-42 and authored 'Matanga 
Choodamani' on dramatic tamil and Yazh Nod, a research work of considerable 

The ancient Tamils in the South had been sedulously cultivating musical art 
and yazh was the most prominent instrument though it came to be lost in 
mediaeval period. Swami Vibhulananda reconstructed Sruthi Veenato explain 
the old twenty-two srutis. 



Sri ChandrasekharendraSaraswati Swamigal of Kanchipuram has made the 
following illuminating allusion to the prestigious achievements of Advaitic Jnanis 
even after their attaining 'siddhi in athmanubhuti': 

' Janaka of Brahadaranyaka and Janaka, Sita's father have been 
distinguished rulers even after siddhi. Adi Sankara, the foremost of 
advaitis, had not only made extensive tours of Bharath in the short 
span of his life but had won many an intellectual battle, besides 
writing bhkshyas, grantas, etc., and establishing mutts, temples, etc. 


Later Vidyaranya who held sway over one of Sankara's mutts founded 
' and set the Vijayanagar empire on the road to prosperity. Samartha 
Ramadas was the guide and philosopher to Maharajah Shivaji in found- 
ing and developing the Mahratta Empire. Founding the Nayak Dynasty 
at Tanjore and acting as Prime Minister to the first three rulers of the 
dynasty was the achievement of the confirmed advait Govinda Dik- 

His Holiness was citing these examples to show that advaitic jnanis were no 
bone-dry rustic recluses but had been great administrators too. 

Vidyaranya was the patron-saint and founder of the Vijayanagar Empire and 
was minister and teacher to the rulers Harihara and Bukka I. He belonged to 
the Sringeri Mutt traditions. His exalted eminence is portrayed in a plaque 
showing him as teacher to the said ruler in the Sankara Mutt at Rameswaram. 
Had authored many works like 'Panchadasi' and 'Anubhutiprakasam' bringing 
out the essence of Upanishads. With his brother Sayanachariar, he has written 
commentaries on Vedas also. 

His contribution to Carnatic music was equally conspicuous. His work 
'Sangita Sara' was a source of inspiration to later writers. 'Sangita Sudha* of 
Rfeghunatha Nayak specifically acknowledged that it was written after 
consulting 'Sangita Sara'. The word Vidyaranya' means 'Jungle of Knowledge' 
and his work means The Essence of Music'. It dealt with fifty ragas then in 
vogue. Its Mela classification was much older than that of 'Swaramela 
Kalanidhi'. Fifteen melas are reputed to have been referred to in connection 
with janaka and janya ragas. Unfortunately the original work either lies 
embedded in the unreached labyrinths of past scholars now in the hands of 
unintelligent owners or had been lost. 


Daughter of C.S. Ayyar, author, musicologist and violinist well known for his 
scientific approach to the art of music and niece of Sir C.V. Raman, Vidya 
Shankar is 

a graduate in Arts and Teaching and 

a disciple in veena and vocal music of T.S. Sabhesa Ayyar, Madras 
Sabhapati Ayyar, SyamaSastri (grandson of the Trinity-fame composer) 
and T.L Venkatarama Ayyar. 

She made her debut in 1 935 at Bombay. She is noted for the traditional style, 
purity of rendition and lucidity of exposition. She has been giving veena concerts 
over the All India Radio and elsewhere. She has evolved effective methods for 


Academy, Madras, which had awarded the Veena Shanmughavadivu Prize 
her in 1973. 


The Compositions of Syama Sastri and his Descendants (with gamaka notations). 
Biography of Syama Sastri (NBTI) 
The Art and Science of Carnatic Music. 

Vidya Shankar had the unique distinction of being trained by a dire 
descendant of Syama Sastri and naturally is the principal interpreter of Sast 
Her immrndr mudicianship and expertise are in constant demand f 
lecture-demonstratios, workshops and lectures. She has helped the emine 
Dr. V. Raghavan in his research work for two years and has been impartir 
training in veena, vocal and Sanskrit for over four decades with merit and cred 
In his foreword to her book The Art and Science of Carnatic Musi 
T,S. Parthasarathy has observed: 

1 Vidya Shankar, eminent vina artiste and musicologist, has an original approach tot! 
problem of srutis and has contributed some original thoughts... has contributed sor? 
original thoughts (on) the complex problem of srutis.' 

Occupation & assignments: 

Kalakshetra, Madras : Taught music, mathematics and Sanskrit - Two years. 

Vidya Mandir : Taught mathematics and Sanskrit - Two years 

Central College of 

Carnatic Music, 

Madras : Taught musicology and music, -Two years. 

Totally devoted to the art and science of Carnatic music, Vidya Shankar is i 
respected artiste in the musical sphere. 

VIJAYA DASA - COMPOSER: (1687 - 1 763 

'So sublime is the spiritual content, 

So elegant and graceful is the expression, 

that among the Haridasas, Purandara Dasa and Vijaya Dasa 

stand prominent as the most distinguished kirthanakaras', 

wrote M,V. Krishna Rao, Vijaya Dasa's suladis on diverse themes are 
famous. He was born at Chikalaparuvi in Raichur district, and as it should be ; 
in a poor family. 



Vijayaraghavan hails from a musical family based in Shirnoga in Karnataka. 
Grandfather Ramiah was a Palace musician and dancer. Father Seshappa was 
a musician and the late Devendrappa was his uncle. Vijayaraghavan is Reader 
in Vocal Music in the University College of Fine Arts, Mysore. 

* * * 
N. VIJAY SIVA - VOCALIST: (b. March 29, 1 967) 

Vijay Siva, son of Narayana Siva and Akhila Siva and disciple of Sangita 
Kalanidhi D.K, Jayaraman, is a prominent rising star in the firmament of 
Classical Carnatic Music. A graduate from the Vivekananda College, Madras, 
he had his early lessons in music from his mother, a qualified vocal musician 
from Carnatic Music College, Madras. Siva is an 'A' grade vocalist with All India 
Radio. Is a mridangist too having undergone his apprenticeship under 
Kumbakonam Rajappa Ayyar and Srirangarajapuram Jayaraman. Learnt 
devotional hymns in tamil from Somasundaram, a disciple of Dhandapani 
Desikhar. Made his debut in 1974 at a sabha in Pallavaram. 

Siva has a high-pitched voice with a fondness for the upper octave and has 
a keen robust approach to concerts. Has been giving a large number of concerts 
on the All India Radio, sabhas, etc., and enjoys popularity. Besides, he is a stage 
and television actor. An active artiste, he is the Founder-Secretary of YACM 
(Youth Association for Classical Music) for the promotion of young musicians 
and was connected with Spic-Macay, another association with similar ideals and 

Bharat Kalachar, Madras conferred the title of Yuva Kala Bharathi on him in 
1988. Siva has won numerous prizes besides getting the Government of India 
Cultural Scholarship for Vocal Music from 1979 to 1987. 

Has given cassette recordings. 

To quote the words of his guru D.K. Jayaraman, 'Siva started identifying ragas 
at the age of seven and started his training under me (DKJ) at ten. At thirteen 
he began with ragas and started giving concerts at sixteen. Now he is himself 
a teacher/ 


Daughter and disciple of Violin Maestro Lalgudi Jayaraman, Vijayalakshmi 
commenced her lessons early and had the benefit of listening since childhood 
to her brother GJ.R. Krishnan and several disciples having their lessons under 


her father. It was thus a gurukulavasa for her to listen, imbibe, practise and 
graduate. Made her debut in 1 979 and has accompanied both her father and her 
brother Krishnan as duo or trio, She has been giving vocal concerts too on the 
All India Radio. Musical legacy, parental training and immense exposure and 
practical experience by playing with her father and / or brother have invested 
her with a flair for confident alluring play to present satisfying classical music. 

A post-graduate in English Literature, she has interest in sketching and 
painting. As is the father, so is the daughter. Vijayalakshmi too has commenced 
giving vocal concerts at sabhas. 

Concert tours ; Trio trips: USSR, UK, Malaysia, 

Singapore and Indonesia. 

Duo with brother GJ.R. Krishnan: USA. 


Born in a family of experts in percussion and kathakali, of Tiruvilvamalai 
Subramania Ayyar, Vilvadri Ayyar had his training under his brother Palakudali 
Parameswara Ayyar. A renowned chanda player, he initially played for the 
dramas staged by his brother and for harikathas providing mridangam support. 

In 1936, he switched over from mridangam to ghatam and became a virtual 
upavadya accompanist for long at all concerts. His play was exhilarating and 
popular. The Music Academy honoured him with a Certificate of Merit in 1 966. 


Viswanatha Ayyar specialised in pallavi, swaram and neraval. His violin play 
was soothing and satisfying and the tone he developed was pleasing to hear. 
Had his training in vocal under his father, Nochur Ramaswami Bhagavatar and 
violin under Mayavaram Subba Ayyar and Marungapuri Gopala Krishna Ayyar. 
His father was a disciple of Trivandrum Parameswara Bhagavatar and 
Talagnayar Somu Bhagavatar. Viswanatha Ayyar was born at Nochur near 
Palghat and made his debut in 1924. 

The Music Academy, Madras honoured him with a Certificate of Merit in 1 966. 



Father and Guru : Gopalakrishna Bhagavatar, a violinist. 

Had further training under Palghat Anantarama Bhagavatar. After training, 
he became instructor in music in a school for the members of the Cochin royal 
family. Later he was Professor of Music, Kerala Varma College, Trichur. After 
retirement he ran a music school at the pilgrim centre of Guruvayur. Was giving 
concerts on All India Radio and at sabhas. For the first time, he introduced 
kathakali songs and sopana sangita in concerts. Again for the first time, he 
recorded a selection of kathakali padas for H.M.V. in 1942. T.V. Gopalakrishnan, 
Ramani and Vasan are his sons. 


Place of birth : Nidle - Dharmasthala 

Parents : K. Subbaraya Hebbar and S. Krishnaveni. 

Training in music under : Hosahalli K. Venkatram, Shimoga 

T. Rukmini, Violinist. 
Lalgudi G. Jayaraman. 

General qualification & B.Com. Working as accountant in a financial concern, 
post held : 

Debut : At Sringeri Sharadamba Temple 

Ramamurthy has been giving accompaniment to a large number of artistes 
in sabhas, Radio and Doordarshan. His violin play is sweet and tone attractive. 


Dr. N. Ramanathan : Dikshitar brought in shades of Hindustani music. Was Carnatic 
music inadequate? 

Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao : It is not inadequacy of Carnatic music but 
Dikshitar found, with his intensive training in Hindustani music, that Carnatic music gets 
enriched by adding shades of the styles of its consanguineous sister and that the ragas 
thereby bestow greater pleasure while not compromising on their own integrity. While his 
composition indicates strict adherence to tradition, it is seen that he had a revolutionary 
instinct in drawing on english tunes and band notes too. 






*Bhakti as expressed in Muthuswami Dikshitar's songs is controlled by jnana ; 
Emotion is subdued and not demonstrative. * 

TL Venkatarama Ayyar in MAM Souvenir 1956 





The Tamil Veda 'Tirukural' , set to music by Mayuram T.R. Viswanatha Sastri, 
was sung first by vocalist S. Rajam on the All India Radio as other vidwans were 
disinclined to take the trouble of rehearsing and singing them. Later a two - year 
serial broadcast of the songs with M.M. Dandapani Desikhar and 
RA. Perianayaki took place. 


i. Prof. Gowri Kuppuswami and M. Hariharan have indexed, in their book ' Index 
of Songs in South Indian Music ' , 1 001 4 songs of South India with details of 
raga, tala, language and author with cross indices. 200 composers, 400 
ragas, 1 talas and seven languages are covered. 

ii. Dr. M.N. Dhandapani and D. Pattammal, in their 'Raga Pravaham', have 
indexed the arohana and the avarohana with other details of 5000 ragas 
melakarta - wise. 

iii. B.M. Sundaram has brought out, in his ' PalaiAzhi ', a compendium of over 
3000 raga scales. 

iv. Violin maestro T.K. Jayarama Ayyar prepared a conspectus but died before 
publishing it 

v. Ludwig Pesch has brought out a beautiful pocket guide - Vide Part II for 
details in his biography. 

vi. Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar presented td Umayalpuram Swaminatha Ayyar a 
manuscript giving the arohana - avarohana of the 72 melakartas and of over 
1000 janya ragas, raga lakshana gitams of over three hundred ragas, etc. 
Perhaps it is available with the descendants ! 

vii. Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama Bhagavatar kept a note-book detailing the 
72 melas and 1 758 janya ragas with the arohana and the avarohana of each, 
besides thirty varnas (1 9 of them rare) and sixteen tamil padas of Mazhavai 
Chidambara Bharati. Sangita Kaumudi of Tiruvaiyaru Subramania Ayyar and 
Sangita Swara Prastara Sagaram of Nathamuni Pandithar are also stated to 
contain inventories of raaas. etc. 


All these could be digested. 

* * * 


i. V.A.K. Ranga Rao, Madras, a well-known critic and expert in Arts, 
collected 2500 numbers of 78 rpm gramaphone records of vocal 
instrumental Carnatic songs relating to 1904 - 1974. The collectic 
remarkable for its unique variety, size and coverage. A colossal effort a 
monumental achievement. Does it qualify for an entry in the Guinness I 
of Records? 

ii. Sampradaya, Madras has built up an archive of taped music of veteran 
the benefit of music-lovers to hear and enjoy besides doing research. 

iii. S. Rajagopalan, 16 Postal Colony IV Street, Madras 33 has garnen 
unique collection of 65 cassettes featuring Palghat Mani, the percus 
wizard. Individual artistes have now their own collections. Some have it r 
Yesudas, for instance. 'After 31 years of singing career, I think I I 
committed a great mistake in not collecting my songs then and th 
Yesudas has all the facilities with a separate set - up, the Tarangini. Ve 
Balachander too had minuted that ' only midway during my veena caree 
it dawn on me that I should collect and preserve '. 

* * * 

The Madras (1927) Session of the All India Congress Committee adoptee 
historic declaration of complete independence as the goal of India (and achu 
it two decades later). The All India Music Conference held concurrently dec 
to found the Music Academy at Madras to promote classical music, The Acad 
was inaugurated in the autumn of 1928 by Sir C.P. Ramaswami Ayyar 
Dr. U. Rama Rao as its Founder-President. Its advent was historic. Dr. R 
Rao was succeeded by K.V. Krishnaswamy Ayyar, T.L. Venkatarama A> 
T.S. Rajam, K.R. Sundaram Ayyar and the present President T.T. Vasu. 

* * * 


1 Chembai Selvam ' authored by Ellarvi is probably the first full sketch boo 
a performing artiste. ' 

Dr. V. Ragha 

* * * 

" Why, some may ask me, all this preference for India ? But what praise 


there be for what has already been so highly praised...! know that in this land lie 
the wisdom and the ideas beyond dispute. AH branches of philosophy are.found 
here. They Can speak all the languages of the world. " 

Amir Khushro of the thirteenth century records so in his 'Nuh Sipihr'. His 
paternal ancestors were Turks and his mother was of Indian origin. His love of 
India exudes profundity 

* * * 


'A Garland' carries a life-sketch of Sakharama Rao of Tiruvidaimarudur. He 
was perhaps the lone musician then handling the rare instrument gottuvadyam; 
used only hand-woven cloth made out of yarn spun by himself. Surely he takes 
his rank with Mahatma Gandhi and Vinobha Bhave ! He found facility and time to 
play badminton too in his day and in that rural village of refined culture and 
cultured refinement . He accepted concerts only when his purse was empty ! 

* * * 


Ramnad (Poochi) Srinivasa Ayyangar, a gracious guru, top-ranking vocalist 
and a composer of sparkling pieces, enjoyed another reputation too. Mysore 
Vasudevacharya records: 

' Doreswami Ayyangar, the disciple, went in and returned with a huge plate loaded with 
idlies and a big vessel filled with ghee. He placed before his guru a silver plate on 
which he heaped about twenty-five idlies and literally poured ghee over them. Before 
I could recover from my shock, Poochi had polished off the idlies! He then poured 
down his throat hot coffee not from a cup but from a small pot! There was an expression 
of satisfaction on his face. The breakfast had been as gigantic as his sadhaka!' 

The guru had his glut; what about the disciples ? Were they starving idle 
witnesses to the exhibition of gluttony? No. That was the beauty and glory of 
gurukulavasa. Acharya records: 

1 When the students also had their share of the idlies, Begada varnam was resumed' 
(from the point at which idlies had called halt), 

The tamil saying is ' If there is no food for the ear, it shall be given for the belly 1 , 
Gurukulavasa (and Poochi) took care of both. 

* * ' * 


Palaces and Courts of rulers and chieftains were epicentres promoting arts. 
Long before independence, Poet Subrahmania Bharati warned that these pillars 
of patronage would crumble soon. Here is a specimen of how his warning came 


1 The Mysore Palace terminates with effect from May 1, 1959 the services of Mysore 
Palace Vidwans, viz., 

K. Vasudevachar S.N. Mariappa 

Chintlapalli Venkata Rao V. Doreswami lyengar 

T. Chowdiah R.S. Subramaniam and 

N. Chennakesaviah D. Seshappa.' 

A Palace Order. 

* The artistes were the flowers of fragrance in the Palace Garden of Carnatic 
Music but the abolition of (royal) privy purses rendered retrenchments inevitable. 


i. Sonti Venkataramanayya (Guru to Tyagaraja) and Pallavi Doraiswamy Ayyar 
were recipients of 'Gajarohaham* - elephant riding while Ramaswami Sivan 
and Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar were brought in procession on the royal chariot 
by the ruler of Pudukottai. 

ii. Govinda Dikshitar and Vidyaranya have shared the throne (ardha simhasana) 
during the minority of the rulers. 

iii. Violinist Rajamanickam Pillai got an elephant as gift for his concert while 
Violinist Vadivelu of the Tanjore Quartette was presented with an ivory violin 
by the Travancore ruler. 

iv. Nagaswaram Vaidyanatha Pillai of Chidambaram got a gold nagaswaram 
from the Vanamamalai Jeer while Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan, violin maestro 
got a gold violin (200 gms.) from Chief Minister Jayalalitha on March 31 , 1 992. 

v. The Rajah of Tanjore presented Mysore Kuppiah with a silver veena inlaid 
with pearls besides ajaghir. 

vi. The Rajah of Tanjore installed Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar in a palanquin 
and took him in procession presenting his own shoulders to bear it on one 
side ! 

Note : Vide pages 484 - 485 of A Garland for 'Gold in Music'. Our Olympic 
Squad might have returned without gold, silver or bronze. But our musicians 
were not lacking. 


i, 'Sangita Satsampradaya Dipika' was the first full-fledged journal totally 
dedicated to music like Sruti, Shanmukha and Sangeetham (USA). 


of a rupee) per page run by A.M. Chinnaswamy Mudaliar of Madras 
Secretariat and printed by his brother Ayyaswami Mudaiiar at Ave Maria 
Press, Pudupet, Madras. First issue was in July, 1892. Carnatic music theory 
and songs with notation were featured. It was a labour of love for Mudaliar, a 

iii. KA/. Srinivasa Ayyangar of the Tiger Brothers brought out a scholarly 
magazine on the above lines which however died of starvation later, 
Strange that journals on music too starve like many of the musicians! 


Muthuswami Dikshitar D. Pattammal, 

Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Dr. Balamuraii Krishna 

Koteeswara Ayyar 

* * * 


In the West, Maxim Gorky is described as 'the living bridge between classical 
and modern literature'. Here are some who have played like roles: 

Bharatis of Narimanam and Between classical tamil and collo- 

Ettayapuram : quial tamil for compositions in 

classical Carnatic music. 

Uthukadu Venkatasubbier Between Classical tamil literature 

Arunachala Kavirayar and classical musical 

Nilakanta Sivan compositions in tamil. 

Ghanam Krishnaier 
Gopala Krishna Bharati 
Koteeswara Ayyar 
Papanasam Sivan 
Periaswami Thooran 

Patnam Subramania Ayyar Between specialised concerts in 

Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar. Carnatic music and kriti-dominated 

present day concerts. 

Bala Murali Krishna Between traditional styles of 

Kunnakudi Vaidyanathan rendition and innovative styles. 

* * * 

Gopala Krishna Bharati took Rs. sixty for each of his harikatha concerts and 
gave it fully for charity. Madurai Pushpavanam, Vocal Wizard charged high rates 
and was strict about it. Some of the present stalwarts take hefty sums which were 
beyond the horizons of imagination or dream of a 'Maha' or a Patnam 1 or 
Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar. Dr. M.L. Vasanthakumari has said, 1 had 
never asked for an abnormal fee for my concerts. That attitude I owe to my strict 


father'. Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar never bartered for remuneration. In fact, he 
was against tickets. Tiruvalangadu Sundaresa Ayyar would not take more than 
the small agreed sum ! So, never had he an occasion to show his teeth, feign a 
smile and say, 'Oh! It's kind of you. 1 


Indian National Congress, 1920. Cultural Programme. Eminent C.R. Srinivasa 
Ayyangar got veteran Naina Pillai for the 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. slot. At Ayyangar's 
request, Pillai continued. But Pandit Paluskar ascended the stage at the 
appointed time and started singing 'Raghupati Raghava Rajaram' as he had 
been allotted the stage from 8 p.m. Pillai had to vacate the stage with his sidemen 
to the embarrassment of all. 

Ayyangar apologised to Pillai for his mistake. Had Pillai not vacated, it would 
have been the antithesis of the current jugalbandis or a replica of some 
legislatures with two and more holding the fort. 


1912 at Tanjore convened by Abraham Pandithar, author of 'Karnamritha 


1916 at Baroda presided over by the Maharajah Gaekwad of Baroda. 
1916 at Tanjore convened by Abraham Pandithar. 

1918 at Delhi presided over by the Nawab of Rampur, who was also a 

good musician. 

1 91 9 at Benares presided over by the Maharajah of Benares. 

1925 at Lucknow presided over by Sir William Sinclair, U.P. Governor. 
1 927 at Madras which led to the formation of Music Academy. 


The book Prachina Ganam (Traditional Music) was reviewed by 
M.S. Ramaswami Ayyar in the journal Viveka Chudamani' which was popular 
then. The review, reproduced in Oriental Music by AM. Chinnaswami Mudaliar in 
May 1893 ( a century back), answers questions relevant for ever: 

i. Why traditional music was losing its hold ? 

Because music was put to bad use and musicians were generally 
associated with bad conduct. Public began to dislike them. 

ii. What was the remedy ? 

The one man who had given respect and image to Classical Carnatic 


music was Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar. He had seen the heights and 
depths of the great art. 'Let us follow his path .' 


Vandalism of time and man was the prime reason for the loss of great works. 
There is a negative aspect to good intentions too. In their anxiety to ensure that 
a work did not fall into incompetent hands, it was secreted. In due course, it was 
taken as inalienable. Exclusive possession prevailed over public use and 
publicity. 'Neither have I any use for it, nor will I give it to others' came to be the 
short-sighted code. Thus valuable works came to be lost in the personal archives 
of many homes, Here is the evidence of it, 

Subbarama Dikshitar, author of Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini in his letter 
to the Hindu in July 1 894 (reproduced in Oriental Music) made this appeal : 

' As my ancestors have been direct pupils of Venkatamakhin and his grandsons, their 
works have directly come down to us. Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchi Kamakoti Math, 
Kumbakonam has favoured me with copies. For checking and comparing, rf anyone 
has old copies of ChaturDandi Prakasika, it may kindly be made available to me. 1 

Then he recounts very tellingly his experience on this appeal thus: 

1 One gentleman of Kumbakonam had an old cadjan leaf copy of it He would not give it 
but wanted to tear it to shreds and throw them into the holy waters of Cauvery, Only 
after his death, through the efforts of Sri Sankaracharya, I got it. 1 . 

Was it an isolated case ? No, says Dikshitar himself: 

'Let me tell you that he was not the only man who wanted to do the like.* 

One can appreciate and understand what an amount of patient, tiresome, 
hard and frustrating labour had been put in by Dikshitar and later by Dr. U.Ve, 
Swaminatha Ayyar (for tamil works)! A century has passed, A massive search for 
old works may reveal startling results. H.H. Sri Jayendra Saraswati Swamigal of 
Kanchi has adverted to this. Why not one of the institutions of repute issue a call 
for old manuscripts and unpublished works before they fall a prey to white ants? 


"Thrice he assay 'd, and thrice, in spite of scorn 
Tears such as angels weep, burst forth " 

Milton, Paradise Lost 

The steel frame, the mighty casket that enveloped a noble heart which 
rebelled against slavery, subordination, injustice and ignorance was but a house 
of butter that melted the minute it saw suffering, poverty and innocence (totally 
oblivious to and unconscious of being itself a victim of these). In his song on 
Kannammathe mighty poet, Subrahmania Bharati opens out his heart: 


En Nenjil Udhiram Kotfcudhadi. 
(If a tear trickles down thy eye, 
My heart bleeds. (Says, torrential cascading of blood.) 

He knew of no barriers - geographical, race, caste or creed. The passing away 
of a great soul brought him to tears and he felt honestly that the world - not he or 
the kith and kin of the deceased alone - stood bereaved. 

i. October 2, 1906 - Oh! What a day and month! The peerless artist with the 
perfumed brush who brought the splendour and grandeur of the Hindu 
Pantheon to millions of Indian homes, Raja Ravi Varma (he was not a king or 
prince in the usual sense) died. The threnody of Bharati includes: 

Beauty He created 

in the flower, the azure sky, 

and in the woman's face 

so that the far-famed Ravi Varma 

can take it with his great vision , 

his fancies and his wisdom. 

Hast thou to Heaven gone 
to compare thy handwork 
direct with the originals? 
But ill will those damsels *** 

compare with your creations!" 

* If Bharati threatens with cascading flow of tears, Dikshitar brings in torrential rains 
with his Varshaya, Varshaya'! and when S. Rajam sings that song there, a cyclone 
descends!! Is it Ettayapuram culture? 

(*** Celestial nymphs Rambha, Urvasi, etc.) 

ii. Same year, the author of 'Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini', Subbarama 
Dikshitar died. Bharati who respected him for his erudition, nobility and 
wisdom bemoaned: 

1 Philanthropy died with Kama 
Poetry went with Kamban 
Chivalry disappeared with Arjuna 
Music ceased with Dikshitar! ' 

iii. Great minds react likewise. When Tansen died in 1 589 A.D., Akbar and Abul 
Fazl recorded : 

1 Tansen's death is the death of the ragas of our music. 
For centuries there was none like him 
in the sweetness and skill of the art of music. ' 

Akbar (Akbar Nama) 
1 The like of Tansen was not bom for several centuries in the past/ 

Abul Fazl ~(Ain-i'Akbari) 


iv. The revered Apostle of Universal Love, Ramalinga Swamigal expressed his 
unbounded compassion thus : 

1 Every time I saw crops withering, I withered too ; as often 
As I saw hungry destitute beggers, I too fainted with hunger : 

And the defeat of the meritorious 

Has made me wilt in pain. 

My life must cease when my compassion dies. ' 

A wag finds nothing exceptional in this since many a politician often gives vent 
to such feelings ! Bharatis and Ramalinganars lived as true specimens of what 
they preached. That is the difference. It is the wisdom of crocodiles that shed 
tears, when they would devour.' (Francis Bacon, Essays.) 


The divine minstrel, repository of musical excellence, sage Narada was a 
constant character in earlier films as they were mainly on epic and puranic 
episodes, The actor taking the role of Narada had to enjoy looks and musical 
profundity like: 

First male vocalist: G. N. Balasubramaniam in Bhama Vijayam. 

First female vocalist: M.S. Subbulakshmi in Savitri. 

Balamurali Krishna in Bhakta Prahlada. 

N.C. Vasantakokilam in Valmiki & Krishna Vijayam. 

T. Suryakumari in Krishna Prema, 

PA Perianayaki in Rukmangadhan. 

B.S. Raja Ayyangar in Satya Harischandra 

Nagercoil K. Mahadevan in Rambaiyin Kadal, Bhookailas, etc, 

Mahadevan came to be the 'Narada with a long tenure covering many films '. 

(A list of musicians who distinguished themselves in cine field is given at 
page 477 of A Garland) 


In 1847, the Bard of Tiruvaiyaru attained samadhi. Promptly in 1859, twenty 
of his songs were included in 'Sangita Sarvartha Sara Sangrahamu' in telugu by 
Tirunagari Vina Ramanujayya followed by - 

510 songs by Tillatstanam Narasimha Bhagavatar in 1908 in telugu ; 
409 songs by Kanchi -Maha Vidwan Ramananda Yogi in 1910 in telugu ; 

225 songs 'with notation and annotation ensuring purity and expurgating 
spurious texts' by K.V. Srinivasa Ayyangar in 1 922 : 


With commentary by Kalluri Veerabhadra Sastri in Tyagaraja Kirtanalu in 

With classification of songs by Bhamidipati Kameswara Rao alias Hasya 
Brahma in Tyagaraja Atmavjcharam ; 

550 songs with abstracts of meaning in english by C. Ramanujachariar in his 
Spiritual Heritage of Tyagaraja in 1 938 ; 

161 Songs with blank verse translation by William J. Jackson in his 'Life and 
Lyrics' in 1991 ; and 

by E.N. Purushottaman in Tyagaraja Vaibhavam in 1992. 

-T.S. Parthasarathy. 

* * * 


The vocalist is elated at getting a concert at Delhi after years. His house 
throbs with pleasant excitement and activity. The pot of happiness is full when his 
son arrives from Bombay unexpectedly as the senior vidwan is about to leave. 
The dutiful son too is elated to learn that after all fortune has smiled on his 
talented father and with understandable curiosity takes out the Delhi letter from 
the packed box. Lo! 

Disillusionment is too sudden, pathetic and excruciating. It is the old letter 
received years back and that was for the last concert the vidwan has had. The 
vidwan did not see the date of the old letter that had fallen from an old diary! 

To portray the pathetic condition of artistes, this drama was enacted under the 
direction of the author on February 25, 1 966 in the presence of Brahmananda 
Reddi, the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and a host of dignitaries by the 
students of the Devasthanam Girls' High School, Rameswaram (of which the 
author was the Correspondent). It was a delight! The presentation was so crisp 
and artistic that Brahmananda Reddi was in total exhilaration (brahmananda!) 
and would not leave, in spite of the repeated promptings of the State Minister till 
the national anthem was sung ! ! 

* * * 


musician to give vocal concerts himself playing violin. (Veena Dhanammal used 
to sing while playing simultaneously on the veena. Some vainikas sing a few 
phrases of sahitya.) Perhaps Lalgudi Jayaraman may choose to be the second to 
give voco-violin concert and TV. Gopalakrishnan a voco - percussion concert. 
They are competant artistes without doubt. 



When Kucheia returned from Dwaraka, he could not recognise his own wife 
who appeared before him as a Bhooshitai. Even so here are a few 


L Kalakshetra, Madras. Dr. Rukmini Arundale, Karaikudi Sambasiva Ayyarand 

many other stalwarts were present. Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar took 
up the popular song 'Bmchevarevarura' (Khamas) building 'the edifice with 
breezy and flashy touches of vivacious and scintillating patterns unfolding the 
aesthetic beauty of the composition and the artistic appeal of the raga bhava 
and lakshana'. Composer Vasudevacharya thrilled to ecstasy confessed; 

1 My composition like a poor girl was given away in marriage years back. When I heard 
the piece today, I could not believe that it was my girl greeting her poor father after 
decades as a SarvaSankara Bhushitai (Sady decked with glittering jewellery of aesthetic 
grandeur and artistic excellence). I could not identify my own girt on her transformation 
for a moment ! ' 

-M.D, Ramanathanto M. Sundaresan; 'Shanmukha'. 

The transformation was as much due to the jeweller Viswanatha as to the 
goldsmith Vasudeva. The hidden beauty of the lyric and the ample scope it 
provides for nuances were explored to ecstatic heights. 

i!. Likewise Gopala Krishna Bharati sat spellbound right through the musical 
discourse on Wandanar', his creation, by the brilliant exponent of the art 
Tanjore Krishna Bhagavatar sponsored by District Munsif Vedanayagam Filial 
of Mayuram, Thrilled by its sntellectuai flights, spiritual message and sobering 
social content, he confessed: 

'i wonder whether Wancfanar'was ever composed by me!' 
Here again the credit goes both to the composer and the discourses 

These are the 'Weddings of Talent'. 

* * * 


In Nagumomu ganaleni (Abheri), Tyagaraja queries: 

1 Have your attendants forgotten their duty ? 
Does not Garuda obey your orders and act promptly ? or 
Does he say that the Earth is too far for him from Vaikuntam ? ' 

Tyagaraja had need to complain. But his bhakta, Nagarathinammal felt no 
such need! Nor had she any occasion to doubt the efficiency of the Lord's mount 
Garuda! Daily at 5 p.m., the Garuda came to her house at Madras punctually and 
took the food given by her - a replica of Tirukazhukundram temple practice! This 


is certified to by Mudicondan Ayyar in the Journal of the M 

Academy, 1968. 

Service, it is said, to an Apostle has more efficacy than service to the Ion 
was Nagarathinam who built the satnadhi of Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru anc 
Qaruda's visit is significant.' - 

1 Taking refuge in Me, they also, may be of a 
sinful birth, attain the Supreme Goal, ' 

Glta IX - 

Was it this message Garuda gave her daily? How apt is the 'Gitopades, 
the case of Nagarathinam ? 


1 was greatly excited. Azhaganambi Pillai's son agreed to play mridanc 
Tirukodikava! Venkatararrtayya was the violinist. Apart from the three of us, tl 
was none at Sri Nageswara Temple, Kumbakonam that night. It was pitchc 
To make matters worse, it started raining heavily! The temple priest (prob 
moved by sympathy) brought an earthen pot to provide ghatam! ' 

This is the humorous description by Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar o 
debut in 1926. He used to say often that favourable stars always guided his 

The same stars probably had then reserved his first concert exclusively for ! 
Nageswara and his Satellites to have a monopoly of the concert to enjoy! 

The veteran announced his retirement from concerts at the Music Acad* 
Madras in 1992 after sixty-six years' of intensive professional practice. This 
find an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. 


Pallavl rendition 


Valadi Rukmini and Mayavaram Silk Papa. 

Visa!akshi Ammal, grandmother of Naina Filial. 

Palani Anjugathammal, mother of Palani Subramania Pilla 

Plate Venkatarama Ayyar acquired the peculiar prefix as he was the 
Gamatic vocalist to cut a disc. 

* * * 


Kanchipuram Naina Pillai detested titles and did not agree to the conferme 
the title 'Pallavi ChemmaP by Chidambaram Vaidyanatha Pillai and other admi 


He detested monetary help even when he was fighting for dear life. 
He hated interference, disturbance and requests at his concerts. 

He abhorred giving discs even when a heavy amount was arranged for it as 
he disliked sacred music being exposed at odd places to all and sundry. This 
dislike or abhorrence was mainly due to music then being fundamentally treated 
as nadopasana.. Tiger Varadachariar, Vinjamuri Varadaraja Ayyangar and many 
others refrained from giving discs only on this score. Sacred hymns, songs and 
mantras are to be heard only when 'man is pure and mentally tuned and ready to 
take it ! 

He detested concerts sans pallavi and one of his concerts for S.G. Kittappa 
went up to six hours 

His second addiction (the first was to music) was to chewing. He was 
punctual and punctilious in keeping his appointments - a contrast to 
T.R. Mahalingam. That 'punctuality is the politeness of a prince' is well said. In 
recognition of the immensity of his services to music, the street he lived in at 
Kanchipuram is named 'Naina Pillai Street'. 

* * * 

The name of Nero (37-68 A.D.) of Rome was synonymous with tyranny and 
brutality and that shamefaced virtue earned him a prominent place in history. 
Even so, there was a mridangam artiste, a ruffian, who was feared 
Kanchipuram Naina Pillai arrived for Tiruvaiyaru festival with Violinist Malaikottai 
Govindaswami Pillai. The mridangist pleaded with them to allow him to provide 
percussion and they were nervous to say 'no'. Konnakol Pakkiria Pillai and 
Kanjira Pudukkottai Dakshinarnurti Pillai tried to salvage the percussive part at 
the concert. The mridangist, battling with irrelevant play, assuming that the two 
were side-lining him. shouted at them; 

' Oh ! You have both pushed me aside. Alright ! 
I will play solo now.. .come on...tala please. 1 

Lo! It was a command. He entered on playing solo nonchalantly. Completing 
it he demanded of Naina Pillai to catch up with the first line of the song as is the 
practice. Pillai had no other go except to do so. Thunderous applauses ensued 
quite strangely and he shouted: 

' Did both of you notice it? Keep this in your mind. 
Your men are few, whereas mine are plenty. * 

\AIOO fr\ ni\/d a rv\rr**ar* o+ Toni/^ro Tha 


playing for Simhanandanatala, Ratnaswami hastened to finish the pallavi. The 
mridangisf told the audience that his long-felt desire to play solo in that tala 
had to be fulfilled but got out of the platform. 'He started to 
circumambulate it uttering something incoherently. Now and then he 
shouted towards Ratnaswami, " tempo". Finally he 
decreed to him, "Get up! You have come from Karachi to show us 
Simhanandana tala as if we do not know that! Beware, no more such 
business." There was pandemonium all around. 

B.M. Sundaram who narrates the incidents has withheld the name of the 
hero-mridangist. Ruffians do hold society to ransom. They get hero-worship too. 
The incidents were unique in the annals of Carnatic music.. 

* * * 


Venue : Sri Padmanabhaswami Temple, Adyar, Madras. 

Duration of recital : 3 a.m. on December 1 9, 1 988 

to 8.1 Oa.m. on December 20, 1988 = 29 hours. 

The record was established by A. Kanyakumari, the popular violinist and 
promoter of Vadyalahari' on Vaikunta Ekadesi, the favourite day of Lord Vishnu. 
She played 140 songs with raga alapana and swaras. The earlier record set by 
Meera Narayanan on October 30, 1955 of 26 hours of recital at Sri 
Ratnagiriswaraswamy temple gets relegated to the second place. So, Lord 
Padmanabha's devotee holds the record now. 


Eminent scholar Ki.Va. Jagannathan used 'to dilate on a beautiful pun 
pregnant with humour. At a lunch in Sri Lanka curd was served to him by the 
friendly host. 

' Maanangetta Thayir! ' (Curd that had lost virtue), said he. 
The host was shocked and puzzled. Virtue for curd? 

1 This curd is without aadai (cream). 
Aadaiponal maanangettadu thane! 
If aadai (dress) is lost, is not virtue lost ? ', clarified Ki.Va. Ja. 

Aadai m tamil means both cream and dress. The host felt relieved. 

Butter has figured in the lives of many even after Lord Krishna. Viswanatha 
Ayyar had pain in the stomach, Pudukottai Dakshinamurti Pillai went out and 
returned with a ball of fresh butter to be taken by the vocal maestro. That was the 
measure of his solicitude. Butter is an Ayurvedic antidote for pain due to heat in 
the body, a malady not cognised by Allopathy. 


Uthukadu Venkatasubba Ayyar, the magnificent composer, was a recluse. 
The Trustee of the Nidamangalam temple arranged for his food once a day, One 
day, the trustee was so enchanted and captivated by Ayyar's melody (a 
community asset) that the trustee-instinct in him asserted itseif and the milk of 
solicitude gathered in him but he could find no way of helping a reciuse who is 
God-conscious. In summer', said the Bard, 'practising tanarn heats the body. An 
ounce of butter on such occasions would help my pursuits.' Promptly the trustee 
ordained that the cart-driver shall wait always with a bail of butter at the cottage 
door to be handed over whenever required, 'But keep another handful ready. Let 
the temple cows be blessed/ The of itself In such 



Be it vocal or instrumental, the percussionist endeavours to bring laurels to 
the principal and share the credit. Ever alert in body and mind, he watches, 
studies, analyses the expertise, trend and attitude of the principal every minute 
and exercises himself to anticipate what the principal would bring in next to mould 
and synchronise his rhythmic support without discordance. He does not wish to 
be caught offhand and bowled. Even as the mind of the bharatanatyam artiste 
stands concentrated and rivetted to the content, bhava and rasa of the song and 
the supporting rhythm of the percussionist, the mind of the mridangist stands 
rivetted to the principal musician, be it kriti or swara. Greater the yogic 
concentration and degree of success of anticipatory support and response, taller 
Is the standing of the percussionist, The percussionist continues to weigh the 
talents of the principal throughout the concert but the challenge from some of the 
principals is rather feeble. Few battles of wits are witnessed now. 

* * * 


1920. Tyagaraja Aradhana at Tiruvaiyaru. Kanchipuram Naina Piltai was 
singing with his usual 'Full Bench' of accompanists. (Several giants of old did not 
know to end their concerts. Their delight was immeasurable if the day did not 
dawn. Four, five and six hours were nothing to them.) Ariyakudi ought to have 
been given the stage after two hours of Pillai's concert. And Piilai did not seem to 
be in a hurry to surrender the stage. 

Telegraph Mani, a gadfly who was a terror to those who thwarted discipline, 
seized the tambura from Villiambakkam Narasirnhan, disciple of Piilai and walked 
away. There was a thunderous clap. R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar queries, 'Was 
it for the coup d'etat, or Pillai's recital that came to a grinding halt or for Ariyakudi 
who began with Janaki Ramana T 



Fred ASlen defined a Committee as* a group of people who individually can do 
nothing but as a group decide that nothing can be dene. 1 

But in one of the most sacred tasks, successive committees have proved that 
collectively too it would decide nothing ! 

i. 1947 was the Centenary year of Tyagaraja. Six years ahead, work was 
started and funds were collected to publish a memorial edition of the Bard's 
compositions. The editorial committee never met. One dedicated sou! ran 
from post to the pillar for years and brought out a last-minute publication 
thanks to K. Srinivasan of the 'Hindu 9 and of Kalki. 

ii. 1 951 . The Aradhana Committee elected a body of eleven musicians to bring 
out a new publication. It was still-born. 

iii. 1952. A Society for the Preservation of Carnatic Music was inaugurated at 
Madras and it evaporated in the eloquency of the speeches made! 

(Source : R.R.A.) 

Classical Arts survive notwithstanding pious resolutions and casual action. 


John D. & Catherine T. Mac Arthur Foundation of America has conferred a 
$ 3,750,000 (about Rs. ten crores) Fellowship on Ustad Aii Akbar Khan. The 
sarod maestro is the first Indian musician to be so honoured. He teaches at San 
Rafael, California and is reputed to have trained about six thousand students 
there in vocal and instrumental music. - Sangeetham, U.S. A 

Carnatic musicians congratulate the cousin-musician on the fabulous honour! 
Can his schemes and methods be studied ? 


In his Entani ne (Mukhari), Tyagaraja wonders how he could describe the rare 
fortune and merit that Sabari had while scores of great spouses of sages had 
them not! Nedunuri Krishnamurti reminisces how K.R. Sundaram Ayyar, 
President, Music Academy, Madras shed tears of joy when he sang the song long 
back true to the bhava of the song and the passionate pathos of the raga in depth 
at his concert in the Academy. (Sruti) 


The musician has assimilated the best of the styles of eminent artistes of the 
past and while handling Mukhari, surely he should have taken a leaf from the style 
of Musiri Subramania Ayyar. C.V.Narasimhan has recalled, 'How many of us 
were moved to tears when Ayyar sang Chinta dirchuta kentha rnodira. ' 

(Vide A Garland page 332) 
* * * 


Recognition by a senior stalwart at a concert is the ideal encouragement to a 
rising artiste. Nedunuri Krishnamurti (20) was giving a concert at Krishna- Gana 
Sabha, with Lalgudi Jayaraman on violin. 'I gave an elaborate and elegant 
treatment of Kapi. Lalgudi Jayaraman did not choose to take his turn and wanted 
me to continue. When I asked him, he said, "You had exhausted the raga". My 
joy knew no bounds on receiving such a compliment from a very great vidwan, 1 
D.K, Jayaraman shortly before his death complimented in liberal terms Balaji, his 
disciple at the Music Academy during his concert and added that it was his good 
fortune to get such promising pupils. Such words are of immense worth. For 
instance, Dame Oliver taught Samuel Johnson to read. As he was going to 
Oxford later, she came to take leave of him with a present of ginger - bread in the 
simplicity of her kindness and complimented him that he was the best scholar 
she ever had. Long after he was great, Johnson delighted in mentioning 
this early compliment in his life " adding, with a smile, that 'this was as high 
a proof of his merit as he could conceive.." 

Boswell has a different appreciation : 

1 Distant praise, from whatever quarters, is not so delightful as that of a wife whom a man 
loves and esteems. Her approbation may be said " to come 'home to his bosom' and 
being so near, its effect is most sensible and permanent 1 

Here, probably no recorded evidence exists. One has to leave the issue to 
the artistes ! 


'Music has certainly changed - the weighty music of fifty years ago has now 
given place to styles that are lacking in depth and substance. After hearing a 
concert in those days, one was so stirred up and moved that one could not get 
sleep easily. Nowadays, one sees people falling asleep even during the concert, 1 

'Thyagu 'of Dinamaniln DhwanL 

Good sleep conduces health! Musical Therapy!! Eligibility to a doctorate is 
the issue to be considered! 



The second item at his concerts was always the tarn i I song 'Ekkalathilum 
Maravene' (Nattakurinji). His accompanists always sat behind him and not on 

-T. Sankaran. 

Sulamangalam Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar gives his assessment of 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar thus: 

"Noble ideals. Joint family with his brothers and partition only after his life 
leaving his income to be shared by them. His voice traversed three octaves. 
Captivating voice. Dazzling personality. Never touched money. Cordiality, 
conviviality. Respect to women. Siva bhakti. Respect to elders. Deep 

(The author pays his obeisance to that great artiste.) 


i. The concert of Bidaram Krishnappa was on at the residence of Vina 
Seshanna with the crowd overflowing into the street. 

1 The artiste having completed ' Todi 'after an elaborate alapana, etc., was about to 
commence his next item. The prominent rasika sitting just in front of the musician 
requested Krishnappa to sing in raga ' Todi ' \ Krishnappa who knows the celebrity well 
said, 'Yes Sir, with pleasure when celebrities like you condescend to listen ! ' He gave 
a free alapana and song in a totally different raga and stopped. The honourable 
gentleman praising the artiste said: 

" I have never before listened to such a wonderful rendition. I do not think that I will ever 
have the good fortune to listen to such a masterly exposition of the raga again ! " 

It was only after this incident that sabhas started printing hand-bills of the 
programmes with full details of the songs, ragas, etc.' 

- Mysore Vasudevacharya in his 'Nenepugalu'(Reco\\ect\or\s). 

Was not the celebrity-rasika correct since he could never have had the 
opportunity to hear ' Todi 'so sung ? 

ii. Nagaswara wizard T.N. Rajarathinam was playing. A prominent person 
approached him to play a song in a particular language. TNR turned back, gave 
a feigned blow (feint) to the drone-player (othu) and shouted., 

Did I not ask you to bring the pipe in that language also ?' 



A heavenly conspiracy snatched away Maharajapuram Santhanam suddenly 
from our midst under tragic circumstances, says K.S. Mahadevan. The vocal 
maestro sought the safe hours of the pre-dawn for travel from Kumbakonam to 
Madras. Alexer, the driver states that the brakes did not function and there was a 
crash. Music lost one of its precious jewels. Thank God, neither Rarnachandran 
nor Srinivasan, his sons had accompanied; Santana Deep/Tea and Santana 
Manjari (two ragas), the two sons, who have to carry the torch are fortunately 
safe. Why and how could the brakes fail just at that moment on a good road after 
dawn is a mystery - a part of the conspiracy. 

1 Maharajapuram Santhanam was the highest paid vocalist ; he accepted only 
a select few concerts. His music was a grand alchemy of melody, method and 
mathematics. A Master of Communication, he took note of the pulse of the 
audience and enjoyed the best of rapport. ' Subbudu. 

' His later day popularity and charisma were phenomenal. His style 
contained the essence of other styles. His cultured voice could conjure up an 
unending variety of musical effects. A golden mean. ' T.S. Parthasarathy. 

'He could marry text with texture ; sang in his melodic voice with 
imagination, workmanship and sleek presentation and made listerners 
partake of music's majesty. ' K.S. Mahadevan 


The day after K,S. Mahadevan's report of ' Heavenly Conspiracy ' appeared in the 
press, I met him at the Sabha Hamsadhwani. 

" Mahadevan, have you reported to the police on the alleged conspiracy ? " 
" What is there to be reported ? What conspiracy ? " 

" Under Section 44 of the Criminal Procedure Code, you ought to have reported your 
knowledge of the conspiracy which had resulted in the deaths of the maestro and 
others ! " 

" Oh ! I see, the beautiful passage is from Milton ! " 
When the news of the accident reached the public, - 

"the sound that broke from the crowd, such a groan as I never heard before and desire 
I may never hear again" (borrowing the description of the fateful occurrence on 30th 
January, 1649 concerning Charles I). 

* * * 

Dr. U.Ve. Swaminatha Ayyar has recorded that Ghanarn Padma Singh sang 
with 64 ( probably one for each of the 64 arts !) knives hanging around his neck. 
That violent appearance and weapons are no threat to melody is substantiated by 


two other cases cited by T.C.A. Chinna Singaracharyulu in his book Gayaka 
Siddhanjanam. Tirukundram Ghanam Krishnayya, a composer of tamil kritis and 
padams used to sing with swords tied around him while Merattur Ganapati Sastri, 
uncle of the eminent Patnarn Subramania Ayyar and a specialist in rhythm and 
dancing, would sing with swords hanging on him without shaking his head. It is 
to be noted that the two authorities who have mentioned the cases are men of 
high repute. 


Music Academy, Madras. Then the sessions were held behind the Ripon 
Buildings near Central Station. Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar listed for the 
concert did not arrive. Violinist Papa Venkatararniah and Mridangist Pudukottai 
Dakshinamoorti Pillai, the two stalwarts were present. A search revealed that 
'Jagaddodarana' disc fame Bangalore B.S. Raja Ayyangar was present and he 
took the dais. As Pillai set right the tune of the mridangam to start, Ayyangar said, 
'Sruti is not correct. 1 

'Oom. Sruti is not correct only there', was the quick retort of Pillai. Stung to 
the quick, Ayyangar felt upset and unsettled and the concert could not settle down 
to a fine tune and sruti! (Source : Mannargudi Sambasiva Bhagavatar.) 


Muthuswami Dikshitar was a vainika. Lalgudi Jayaraman is a violinist. 
Tanjore Quartette were instrumentalists too. There may be a few other 
instrumentalists who have composed varnams, kritis, tillanas, etc. But the 
majority have refrained from such exercise. The great master-violinist Yehudi 
Menuhin had recorded : 

'All the great Italian violinists preceding and including Paganini, from Corelli 
and Vivaldi . . . were composers.' 

Why more instrumentalists were / are generally disinclined to take up 
composing songs in Carnatic fold needs to be analysed. 


Only one raga 'Usenf is handled for the whole night during the Festival of 
Nataraja at Chidambaram. (Sruti) 



Maharajapuram Viswanatha Ayyar would not miss the aradhana (Memorial 
services) of Tyagaraja at Tiruvaiyaru. His love of the Bard was such that he 
purchased the old house of the Bard in 1 968 and lived in it for over a year till 
illness necessitated his leaving for Madras. He died on April 4, 1970. 

Viswanatha Ayyar was never a greedy man and he would give concerts for the 
love of music and of friends. Absolutely convival, pregnant with humour and 
robust thoughts, he kept stern discipline among his accompanists, who were kept 
at bay always. Rarely they could take privileges with him and rarely they were 
allowed to outshine him. Once Pushpavanam did not come and Viswanatha 
Ayyar, then young, was asked to step in by Harikatha Panchapakesa Sastri. 
Govindaraja Pillai on violin, Dakshinamoorti Pillai on mridangam secured for 
Pushpavanam were retained for him though a junior. Pakkiria Pillai, konnakol 
player, did not like to accompany a junior but was made to take his seat. He was 
not inclined even to smile at him. Warned about this, Viswanatha Ayyar put forth 
several swara korvais in atidurita kala that Pakkiria Pillai found it difficult to 
project them, since it was beyond his capability as a konnakol accompanist. Then 
only, he turned to the junior vocalist and forced out a smile as if to admit, 'so, you 
are not such a junior as I took you to be'. His music was so totally innovative, 
intuitive that it was beyond the reach of any disciple to master and so, he 
had few disciples following him ritually. Once he forgot to sing the charanam 
part of a song. Son and voice-support Santhanam egged him oh to sing it. 

' Keep quiet ( Summa Iruda), all know the charanam toell, 
There is no need to sing it for them !s' 

He left it at that. Looks like a Mulla Nasruddin story! A cavalier pure in spirit 
and action. Admirers loved such antics because of his inherent worth. 

* * * 

Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar elaborated Saver/ raga alone for full four hours 
with alapana and pallavi at Kakinada, records Prof. P. Sambamurti. 

* * * 

' The Tanjore Quartette deserve to be honoured as much as the Trinity of 
Carnatic Music. Their stature as composers is by no means inferior to that of 
others who have been canonised. Their contribution enlarged the dimensions of 
our music considerably. ' 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 



A picture of humility with a lavish veil on his profound wisdom, musicality, 
powers of composition and devotion, Papanasam Sivan was one of the eminent 
Sivan(s) of the South who were/eputed vaggeyakaras. Maha Vaidyanatha Sivan, 
Ramaswami Sivan and Neelakanta Sivan were the other distinguished Sivan(s). 
He was such a simple and good man that after the conferment of the prestigious 
title ' Sangita Kalanidhi ' by the Music Academy, Madras, he was left severely 
alone without anybody attending on him till someone took the trouble of taking 
him home ! He had at a stage signed contracts for not less than seventy-two 
pictures involving monetary returns of sumptuous sums. Said Rangaramanuja 
Ayyangar in 1972: 

' He had tasted the sweets of adversity and had realised the benefits of plain living and 
high thinking. He had now been sucked into a world where he felt entirely out of tune. 
Ere long, wealth began to cloy... The Lord and his angels pulled him out of the morass 
and he became the old Bhakta again. He spent all his earnings on renovating the 
temple and tank at Polagam (his native place) and became Kuchela again. ' 


Nagaswaram was introduced by Nada Nayanar in the thirteenth century, It 
took for its companion the tavil, well-matched in majesty of sound and power. 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 


' Pudukottai Anna (Mamundia Pillai) is the greatest figure in this century. He 
and I were listening to Narayanaswami Appa's mridangam for Sarabha Sastriar's 
flute. The recital over, we all stood up. But Pillai sat like one in a trance. When I 
pulled him up, he rose and knocked his head against a window. Obviously he was 
so absorbed in Appa's mridangam that he mistook the window for the doorway ! 
Such was Appa's genius!!! 

Pudukottai Dakshinamurti Pillai. 

Note: Manpoondia (Mamundia) Pillai was a legend and that legend lost himself in Appa's play! 
[ Scriptures mention that Parameswara was the highest while some extol Vishnu as the 
Adimoorti. Sometimes, they mention that both Prameswara and Vishnu are functional 
top deities and that there is 'Ishwar ' who is the supermost and the God Incarnate.] 
Thus Pillai was great and Appa was great. Greatness is one and supreme and the 
above episode only establishes the truth. 





The chapter on 'Contests and Challenges' in 'A Garland' details the finest 
musical combat promoted and presided over by Maharajah Ayilyam Tlrunal. The 
two musicians are described by T. Lakshmana Pillai as two prowling lions, Roman 
gladiators, musical foundations and musical rockets. Here is his assessment of 
the two artistes:- 

Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar 

Master of many ragas yet unknown in 
Travancore. Gifted with a voice 
unrivalled in clearness and sweetness 
with capacity for rapid performance. 

His method was nayam (persuasively 
soft). His voice lured the audience. 
A well-laid out garden. Afresh water 
lagoon. Mellifluous and dazzling. 

Raghava Ayyar 

Could not boast of such merits but 
had originality, manly vigour and 
resourcefulness. His voice though 
somewhat gruff was strong and 
seemed to suit the boldness and 
majesty of his style. 

His method was ghanam (gravity). 
His voice extracted admiration. A 
tower of strength. A mighty river. 
Imposing and sublime. 

An eye-witness to the combat, Mridangam Sethurama Rao of Tanjore 
remarked that Raghava's music contained a little admixture of Desiya style 
compared to the pure Carnatic classicism of Vaidyanatha. 

(T.V. Subba Row in JMAM 11-2) 

* * * 


If the inveterate Sardar Patel, the Prime Architect of Independent India could 
suffer recognition only in 1 991 for the award of 'Bharat Ratna' after many a lesser 
dignitary had been honoured, why not Mudicondan Venkatarama Ayyar, the most 
eligible musician be conferred with a Doctorate and Veena Balachander, the most 
eligible vainika, with the title of Sangeetha Kalanicjhi. Universities and the Music 
Academy may consider with understanding. 


" The song would be born as long as a certain understanding of the universe 
was there. That such an understanding existed and would continue to exist was 
the concern of the musician-thinkers of early India. In what they wrote, they 
chose to remind posterity not of their own experience in song, but of the method 


whereby the experience could be had by each person. Song is an act of rising 
above both life and death ! " 

- Gopal Sharman. 
* * * 


Jagadguru Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati, Senior Sankaracharya of 
Kanchipuram gave this exposition to Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar in 1961 
during his camp at Devakottai as reported in "Ka/Wand 'Sangeetham' : 

L Padacchedam: 

Many musicians, who concentrate more on music than on the meaning, 
distort the meaning and message of songs. The correct meaning of the line 
'Guruguhaayaagnana dhvanta savitre' in 'Sri Subramanyaya namasthe' 
(Kambhoji) can be got only by breaking up the line as 'Guruguhaaya agnana 
dhvanta savitre' which means, 'Obeisance to Guruguha, the sun who dispels 
the darkness of ignorance'. Some sing this line lengthening the 
Guruguhaayaa' giving the impression that it is a separate word and the rest 
of the line sounds like 'gnana dhvanta savitre' which gives the distorted 
meaning 'the sun dispelling the darkness of wisdom 1 ! 

Similarly, in 'Sankaracharyam' (Sankarabharanam), there is a line 
'Paramaadvaita sthapana leelam', meaning 'He who founded the profound 
philosophy of "Advaita" as an act of play'. But some who either do not 
understand or care, elongate the word 'Paramaa' and sing the second word 
to sound as if Vvaita' is established as an act of play; and thus convert the 
Advaita Acharya into a Dvaita Acharya'. ( Vide part III D on this subject.) 

ii. Origin of some ragas: Kambhoji : 

Many know that Kambhojam is Cambodia and that Indian culture has taken 
roots there. Researchers like Sambamurti deny that India borrowed the raga 
from Cambodia. Kalidasa in his Raghuvamsa mentions another Kambhojam 
adjoining Himalayas beyond the river Sindhu. Perhaps Kambhoji was 
evolved from a raga peculiar to this region in the Hindukush ! 

Many ragas may have assumed the names of regions from which they 
originated. When ragas are refined by the people of particular regions, they 
acquire the names of those regions. Kedaram refers to the Himalayan region 
Kedarnath; Gowla to the country 'Godda 1 or Bengal... 1 

In this conncection, it may be stated that the kritis of Dikshitar too would seem 
to lend credence to the geographical origin of some ragas as in 

a. Sourashtram - Gokarneswara Pahi kriti - 'worshipped by the kings of 
Sourashtra, etc.. 1 


b. Mayamalavagoula - Neelothpalambikayaha - 'outstanding in the regions of 
Mayapuri, Malavam, Goula.' 

c. Kannada Goula - Neelothpalambikaya - 'who saves the people of Kannada and 


i. ' Sruti follows swara just as the fish swims in water and the bird flies over the 
sky. 5 

' Naradisiksha ' 

ii, Intuitive, imaginative, chaste alapana (exposition and delineation of raga) is 
compared to the delightful, fanciful flights of the kite and the faithful shadow 
that follows it. 


Plato (on Legislation); ' Egyptians were restricted by their laws to fixed 
melodies and were not free to alter. Our (Greek) legislators are to be praised that 
they do not venture into this field. ' He records further: 

' This must be the work of a God or of some divine person '. 

How true it is vis-a-vis Indian thought and music! The freedom that Indian 
music has enjoyed lends great credit to our law - givers and merit to our musical 


1 Exquisite art and degrading corruption were 
contemporary in Greece as well as in Rome. ' 

Dr. Smiles. 

' Morality depends on the artist, not on the art. ' 

Rev. Haveis. 

1 Take King Dilipa, the very first king and Agnivarna, the very last 
king in Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa. Both were music-lovers. Independent 
of music, Dilipa was highly disciplined in morality. His musical 
knowledge served to steady him in the path of morality. But Agnivarna 
who neglected to cultivate morality fell into obscene ways that he 


11 Not always music shows the man; we find 
Who sings kindness is not therefore kind ! " 


I contend that while it is possible for a person of strong character like 
Dilipa to derive benefit from music, it is next to impossible for a person 
versed only in music like Agnivarna to derive any benefit from morality.' 

M.S. Ramaswami Ayyar. 

Note: Vide ' Boom, ?ooze,Doom' at page 444 of A Garland. 


"Tolstoy, in his ascetic recoil against his own handiwork, called art 'a beautiful 
lie'. Well, it often is so. But it is often quite not so. It can arouse devilish or divine 
feelings. It can lead men to that higher beauty which Keats saw is one with truth. 
Whenever its influence is bad, it is the artiste who is to be blamed, not art." 

Paul Brunton. 

"The rasikas' love for music has no commercial angle, whereas we 
(musicians) are being PAID to perform FOR THEM! To us, it is certainly a 
commercial proposition, a commercial commitment! Hence, from where we sit, 
they are purer at heart! As a musician your responsibility is to see that, although 
it is a commercial arrangement, YOU DO NOT MAKE your art COMMERCIAL!" 

Veena Maestro S. Balachander. 
(Emphasis supplied). 

' The golden Age comes to men only when they have, 
if only for a moment, forgotten gold. ' G.K. Chesterton. 


The prowess of Tansen is legendary. No musician except he was allowed to 
practise his art in Agra publicly. The ban on others, or rather the relaxation in his 
favour alone, was to satisfy the fanatic orthodoxy of the Court. Birju Bavare (Baiju 
Bavara), a co-student of Tansen under Swami Haridas, challenged the decree by 
singing in the streets and was promptly arrested. He challenged Tansen's alleged 
invincibility and was given a chance to keep his head by proving his stand. 

Birju met Tansen In a contest of musicianship fearing nothing from the artiste 
who had compromised his integrity, diluted his inspiration, a nearness to the soil 
and climate from which music grew in favour of well-being and the security of the 
Court. It proved to be a stiff contest. In the end, Tansen had to admit that there 

i^om -from hie nnnnnent. A little humility, perhaps.' 


Note: Swami Haridas is normally reputed to be Tansen's guru. Abui Fazi of Akbarnamah 
mentions that Tansen had learnt from Adil Shah ! Perhaps another guru!) 


1 This thought that man is the supreme organism, 1 got from (Subrahmania) 
Bharathiar... He felt a seYise of kinship with the whole universe, not only human 
beings and animals, not only living beings but inanimate objects also', said 
Vinobha Bhave. Vinobhaji repeated Bharathiar's song in tamil alluded by him, 

11 The crow and the sparrow are of our tribe ; 
The sea and the hills constitute our crowd. " 

Dr.M. Aram in 'Essays on Bharati'. 

There is, thus, no cause for wonder though Shakespeare marvelled 'Is it not 
strange that sheeps' guts should bale out souls out of man's bodies ! '. 

* * * 


'Kesavayya's pompous attitude, preposterous titles, his majestic tambura 
bedecked with flag, the sight of the cartloads of tamburas and other costly 
presents surrendered by the several defeated musicians, the pile of jayaprada 
patras, i.e., documents signed and delivered by defeated musicians 
acknowledging their defeat, all these and more made the (palace) vidwans 
despair of success ...' 

(Kesavayya went to Tanjore, the Musical Wimbledon, to complete his Grand 
Slam but met his Waterloo. Vide A Garland.) 

A few days later, Kesavayya met Syama Sastri on the street. He gnashed his 
teeth and said angrily, "You have been responsible for the loss of all my 
reputation.." Sastri calmly replied, * This is all of your own making '. 

P. Sambamoorty in 'Great Composers 1 

Note: Tambaram T Ekambaram, Madras has evolved a method to synchronise the two tafas 
handled by Sastri and Kesavayya i.e., Sarabhanandana (79) and Simhanandana (128) 
talas with all the beats continuously. 


When a political leader pays a visit to his or her old nurse or teacher, it is 
flashed as news. But not so when others do it? 

A humble telugu teacher had given tuitions to Sangita Kalanidhi 


D.K. Pattammal in her teens at Kanchipuram. That was ancient story but true. 
Decades passed. Pattammal had long back stepped into her heydays. One day 
a man stood at her door-steps looking a picture of humility. When the senior 
musician enquired, he revealed that it was her old teacher and said that having 
come to Madras, he wished to meet his old student just to express his happiness. 

Pattammal's efforts to make him feel at home were in vain. The old poor 
teacher was ill at ease before Pattammal whose affability is proverbial. Finally 
thinking that her father might not have remunerated him adequately, she gave him 
Rs.Two hundred with ' tamboolam '. The old teacher's face brightened. With 
visible pleasure he took it but handed the entire plate back to the musician saying, 

' Pattamma, I have been watching all along your success. I was too poor to make a 
presentation to you during your wedding. Kindly purchase a Kanchipuram silk saree 
for you out of this money as my gift ! ' 

And he left richer, a picture of contentment ! 

That was iradia's glory!! 
the glory that was or is? 

This reminds me of an incident in January 1 948 (the month of the martyrdom 
of Gandhiji) at Tiruvallur. Padmanabha Ayyar, Deputy Director of Survey was 
known to be an officer of aggressive honesty. Menon, the Circle Officer gave him 
with deep respect just two apples on behalf of the trainees while taking leave of 
the camp. After the usual enquiries Ayyar said, 

1 Menon, You have your children at Madras. Please give these two apples 
to them with my love '. 

That was Ayyar's unsullied reputation on the eve of his retirement. He was 
not guilty of taking even those two fruits!! Now the search is on to locate such 
men of gold!! Gold is scarce even in Kolar Mines! 

* * * 


The answer of Tyagaraja and other seers of India is known. A sympathetic 
cord vibrated in Baruch Spinoza, a great Jew, philosopher and a contemporary of 
Ahobala and Venkatamakhin. In his 'On the Improvement of the Intellect 
(1660 AD), he states: 

1 1 could see the many advantages acquired from honours and riches... But the more one 
possesses, the more the pleasure is increased and the more one is encouraged to 
increase them; whereas if at any time our hope is frustrated, there arises in us the 
deepest pain. Fame has also this drawback. But the love towards a thing which is 
eternal and infinite alone feeds the mind with a pleasure secured from all pain. ' 

Here is a passage from Vivekananda f s letter dated October 2, 1893: 
i cnmptimps wish for a life of million million aaes to serve Him 


Bhatruharfs Vairagya Sataka, viz., 'We live on alms; and sleep on Mother 
Earth: What use have we of the Wealthy?', finds an echo in a Chinese song 
quoted by T.H. Chin in Kalakshetra (VII-2): 

' By sunrise, I begin to toil; 
Go to rest at sunset; 
Drink by singing a song; 
Eat by plouging the soil. 
What is the use for me to have imperial power?' 

Poverty has not soured the Indian. It has chastened him with a spirit of 
acceptance, which is very different from resignation. There is no despair. On the 
contrary, he has learnt to feel and create beauty in the most adverse conditions, 
to make his own entertainment and music, to join in dance. Cultural enjoyment 
has been a great factor in Indian life 

- Indira Gandhi in Eternal India (B.I. Publications) 1980. 

The performance ... of Mozart made moisture come to the eyes because 
of the sheer happiness of the music and the incredible accuracy and bloom of 
the playing. To hear this music played to perfection was to escape from 
the material burden of the world for a while. We could feel for a blissful 
moment that felicity is the only reality, the Thing-in-ltself. When Mozart is in 
this heavenly mood it is as though he were saying to us, "A star danced and 
under it I was born." Yet when the work was composed, Mozart was a 
harassed mortal man afflicted with responsibilities and griefs which would send 
the average man of "Big Business", or the average politician, staggering into 
the nearest nursing home. The creative spirit in genius seems to owe 
nothing to the support of the flesh ...' 

- Sir Neville Cardus in Music 


South India has a great legacy of preserving and presenting a panorama of 
enduring and enchanting architectural, sculptural and other art works - rather 
such a surfeit of them that the intrinsic merit and monumental glory of many get 
ignored. Gems of purest ray serene in abundance even after the Great Loot of 
Treasures survive. The Indian starved to create and legate such treasures, 
Several old magnificent temples stand ignored but small temples are built and no 
efforts are made to renovate the fine monumental temples of old. Even so, 
numerous compositions of anonymous composers lay untouched by any! 
Dr. S. Seetha has recorded; 

"There are manuscripts in the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore of padas and kirtanas in 
Telugu, Sanskrit and Marathi like 'Venkatesa Padamulu' (99 songs), 'Samskritha 
Kirthanas' (147 songs) and Vanchinatha Kirthanam' (49 songs), the authorship of 


Some works lack proximate luck and response but enjoy ulitimate popular 
A remarkable case is the work 'The World as Will and /dea' (1 81 8) by philosopl 
Shoepenhauer. Sixteen years after publication, he was told that the great parl 
the edition had been sold as waste paper! In 1851 he received ten copies of 
most readable work 'Byproducts and Leavings' as his remuneration! Good woi 
too have to wait for auspicious stars to claim like Ben Johnson: 

11 Thank God ! 
It will be look'd for book 
When some but, see 
Thy title 'Epigrams' and nam'd of me." 


There may be an element of over-reaction or excess in what an Indian do< 
feels or thinks. Pure melody with unrestricted freedom for ornamentath 
innovation and improvisation, in short, raga-based music - is thus a corollary o - 
Exhibition of oriental joy or sorrow is notorious for their near-riotous nature, Ev 
the Prince among the wise ascetics Swami Vivekananda could not overcome 
See the Himalayan magnitude and magnanimity of his gratitude expressed 
one of his letters - stated to be an adoption of a passage in the Siva Mahirr 

' If the Indian Ocean were an inkstand, the highest mountain of the Himala^ 

the pen, the earth the scroll and time itself the writer, still it will not expre 

my gratitude to you. ' 

Verily it is the Viswaroopa of Gratitude! What did Nehru will? He wanted 
ashes to be broadcast on hills, dales and plains! On Raga - Emotion nexus, Go 
Sharman refers to exaggerated claims; 

' A long list of ragas is provided with various emotions credited against them somew 
in the fashion of a bank ledger... If this potion were to work in the way it is meant to, 
musician would have to contend with a hall -full of wailing and sobbing spectator 
he were to burst into tears himself halfway...) ' 

* * * 

The bad musician tortures, no doubt. The good one too tortures ! The gn 
Hindi Poet Tulsidas in his benediction to the translation of the Ramayana said 

1 1 bow down to both the wicked and the holy. 
Alas, for me they are both equally torturers. 

to tnrtiirft mft as soon as thev contact with me. 


Does it not apply to the good musician too when he suddenly springs a 
Drise with his Wee nama rupamulaku nithyajaya mangalam* (Sourashtram)? 


The visiting poet, with supreme confidence, sang his composition expecting 
approbation and acclaim. The Court-poet, not known much for poetic calibre 
(evidently a political appointment!), stepped in the minute the visiting poet had 
concluded and declared that the song was not original and asked his prime 
pupil to render 'what he had already been taught'. The boy repeated the 
poet's version verbatim to the amazement of all. Not content with it, the 
court-poet called upon the second disciple to render it; and lo! he did it too! 

The visiting poet was struck with fright and felt that it was indeed an assembly 
hosts! And he left. The story says that the first boy was an eka santha grahi 
the second a dwi santha grahi, i.e., those who could repeat on hearing a text 
e and twice respectively. Scheming Court - poets equip themselves with 
i tools to keep themselves in position. 

Likewise when Paranjoti Munivar took his Tiruvilayadal Puranam' to the 
learned men of Veppathur to get 'catrukkavi' (introduction), he was asked to 
come the next day. The elite sat through the night, wrote another themselves 
on the lines of Paranjoti's and when the Munivar went over there the next day, 
warned him that his composition was not original! 

Such stories are circulated either to highlight the cerebral brilliance of some 
or the hazards and impediments faced by a true genius. It is stated that 
Tiruvilayadal Kirtanas were composed almost simultaneously but 
independently by Mazhavarayanendal Subrahmania Bharati and Tirunayam 
Krishna Bharati. How they fared in this context is worthwhile a probe. 

iA v. SWARA: 

Raga gnana is different from Swara gnana. The first is evolved by constant 
ling while the second is developed by one's own instinct, intuition and efforts, 
having swara gnana need not necessarily have raga gnana.' 

Nedunuri Krishnamurti 


"he Dikshitar memorial mandap at Ettayapuram was constructed in 
5 renovated and rebuilt in 1988 bv Sundaram Pillai of 


Palayamkottai. Dikshitar Jayanthi is celebrated annually. 

* * * 


i. The golden bond and fragrant nexus between the nagaswara coloss 
T.N. Rajarathinam and Raga Darbar are well-known. It was God's chosen hour 
rest and recreation the still, soulful midnight. The maestro was at the peak 
sweet fascinating melody. The congregation in the street -yes, it was a process! 
stood in captivated trance and forgot to breathe! 


chipped in a rustic voice startling the congregation of statues and the maest 
Rajarathinam looked around in amazement. The ill-clad lamp-carrier with 1 
sleepless dozing gas-light on his innocent, uncombed head lowered his he 
feeling guilty of impropriety. The maestro in the midst of his Durbar (Court ! - w 
he not holding total sway over the crowd around?) confided: 

' I value that appreciation of the mandai-vilakku (lamp- carrier) much more tt 
any Presidential Award. ' 

True, one came from a full, feeling innocent heart while the other out 
conscious procedure. (Samuel Johnson used to recollect with genuine pleasi 
the praise of his first lady-tutor stating that it was 'as high a proof of his merit 
he could conceive'.) 

ii. Your Sri Ramayana Darshanam is priced too high 5 , complained the youth 

You have gladly parted with Rs.1 20 for a pair of shoes to cover your feet; I 
you are not prepared to part with Rs.50 for something to be carried on yc 
head 5 , replied K.V. Puttappa, Jnanapith Award Kannada Poet. 

iii. Rusi Modi, Chairman, TISCO told his men (before 1992): 

'I have completed fifty years of service. ..If I had my life to live over again 
would change many things but not my life with Tata Steel.' 

That was the summit of human involvement and dedication. Surely mam 
stalwart musician had echoed like-thoughts vis-a-vis music. 

iv. The divine minstrel Narada's travails in achieving perfection in music f 
mention at page xLix of A Garland. Says Gopal Sharman: 

'Hie *arni^itir>n hoc n<a\/<ar hAan m Ipctfinned. It JS the Value Of eruditJOH tC 


v. Make-believe ? 'A genuine artiste is never worldly wise. He lives in the world 
of euphoria generated by public adoration and forgets to invest wisely for a 
future day. He realises his mistake when it is too late, He has to put on a 
brave face., exude a make-believe enthusiasm...' H.K. Yoganarasimha 


Maharajah Chamaraja Wodeyar was a prince among musicians and a 
musician among princes. 

S. Rajam is an artiste among artists and an artist among artistes -(RRA) 

Dr. S. Pinakapani is a Sangita Kalanidhi among practising doctors and a 
doctor of medicine among Sangita Kalanidhis. 

T.L. Venkatarama Ayyar was a Supreme Court Judge among, musicians and 
a competent musician among Judges of the Supreme Court. 

Vallalar Ramalinga Swamigal, Govinda Dikshitar, Veena Balachander and 
several others were such multi-faceted celebrities who should have made a 
success of anyone of half a dozen careers. 

* * * 


Rarely the two meet. Palghat Mani Ayyar, the percussion maestro, was a 
lifelong adversary of the mike and his letter paper carried the warning Invite me 
only for mikeless concerts'. It was not like statutory warnings such as "smoking 
is injurious to health" in glittering advertisements on cigarettes but he meant it. 

His Tenth Anniversary was celebrated at Delhi by Swaralaya with all 'technical 
wizardry demonstration, two monstrous speakers connected to an electronic 
amplification device, etc.' Rightly 'Narada' wrote that 'a big name from the past is 
useful to brand the concert series but it would take some imagination to conjure 
up a link between such spectacles and the maestro in whose name such perfidies 
are perpetrated '. 


The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, Jayalalitha, a talented artiste, gave a brilliant 
speech at the Madras Music Academy on December 1 8,1 991 . Excerpts below: 

'Our musical savants, connoisseurs and rasikas who have contributed to the 
maintenance of the highest standards of musical excellence had drawn the 
attention of the whole world to the fact that Indian music and dance forms 


represent the highest hall-mark of its culture and civilization and are rooted in the 
understanding of the power and glory of divinity and its manifestation.' 

The properties of Indian music are spiritual and encompass religion, 
philosophy, logic, science, commonsense and sensory impressions. It spanned 
the entire gamut of organic sensation, sense perception, perceptual conception, 
reasoning, judgment and spiritual realisation. ' 

The great contribution of Indian music is the conceptualisation of raga...the 
vital force in the design and execution of the classical form ... ragas were the 
creation of divine inspiration of the innermost being of the great Indian spiritual 
leaders. 1 

The pinnacle of development of tamil music was achieved during the time of 
the Nayanmars and the Alwars. The thevaram hymns could be said to constitute 
the first regular musical compositions set in definite raga and tala.' 


i. Musicians fall under two categories, viz, 

a. those who find music in diet and 

b. those who find diet in music. 

Mahavidwan Minakshisundaram Pillai of Tiruvidaimarudur, after a frugal 
vegetarian meal at the local Saivite Mutt, confided to young U.Ve. Swaminatha 
Ayyar, They served me ghee'! 

A single spoonful ghee was then worth such a startling revelation in whispers 
by the tamil savant ! 

ii. Pazhamaneri Swaminatha Ayyar, a stalwart among musicians, was having 
his dinner after a concert and payasya (sweet pudding) was served spreading 
aroma alround. Ayyar took a handful of it (not being the custom to use 
spoons) but suddently lapsed into sobs and tears. None could fathom the 
cause. Recovering himself, still with the pudding in hand, he reminisced, 
tears keeping pace with his thoughts: 

1 My thoughts went back to my guru Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar who had never tasted any 
of these rich dishes. He abjured all these to preserve the purity of his voice.' 

Patnam Subramania Ayyar told his disciple Mysore Vasudevacharya that 
'Maha' was starving himself. Vasudevacharya avers: 

1 Vaidyanatha Ayyar was afraid that the tiny flame of mangalaratiwas sufficient to cause 

-x* *u + u-; ,*IHI Wo cti irir tn a strict diet of rice 


What a sacrifice? Yet Maha did not live to complete his fiftieth year! 

iii. Patnam Subramania Ayyar had told Vasudeva, 'Why on earth should men 
learn music if one has to starve like Maha?' 'Subramania Ayyar would eat 
well. I fully endorse his theory. I have been a faithful follower of his 
take-it-easy life.' Veena Seshanna too had once complimented Vasudeva of 
his partiality for eating. 

Patnam lived for fifty-seven and Vasudevacharya lived for ninety- six years! 

iv. Subramania Bharati was not known to be a glutton and want was not a reason 
for it. He was in such a hurry that his sparkling advent lasted just for 
thirty-eight years. 

v. Tyagaraja was a renunciate and Muthuswami Dikshitar was a kshetragna 
leading a frugal life. The former had aversion even for curds, butter and milk. 
Both could have commanded luxury. Food played little role in their lives. 
Dikshitar was just fifty-nine when Ettayapuram bade him a tearful farewell 
while the Rama Bhakta lived for eighty years. 

vi. Poochi Srinivasa Ayyangar was a glutton who swallowed idlies in dozens, 
ghee in cups and coffee in jugs. He was only fifty-two when he died. 

vii. As against these and similar cases which offer no guide lines, 'the Vedic 
benedictions indicate: 

"Jeevema saradassatam (Live for 1 00 sarad-seasons), "Satamanam bhavati 
Sataayuh" (Let it be hundred, hundred years' age) point out that our ancients 
considered 100 years as the maximum limit of man's age... Tradition mentions 
" Sahasra masa Jeevi " (1000 months old person) and "Sahasra Poorna 
Chandra Darsana" (witnessing 1000 full -moons).' (S.D.Thirumala Rao). 

Ayurveda has guidelines to develop and sustain a melodious voice and enjoy 
longevity. What exactly is the rhythm between diet and life-span of a musician? 
What exactly is the concept behind 'mens sana in corpora sano ' ? What exactly 
would be the ideal food for a musician to enjoy a fairly long life span ? Is there to 
be any distinction in food requirements between a vocalist, an instrumentalist 
(nagaswara artiste or flautist) and a percussionist! Prima facie a case exists for 
an analysis. 


'0 Lord, please give me the unflinching will, the will that holds against ail odds, 
an unflinching will to change. May I also have the knowledge to know what I can 
and cannot change, knowledge that helps me to accept what I cannot change. 


Once I know something cannot be changed, I can accept it. And once I know I can 
change, \ can do what has to be done. May I have this knowledge? 1 

Swami Dayananda Saraswati 

Note : Musicians may adopt this prayer. 


1 have been trying to study the handling of the violin by Western savants to 
see whether a part of it can be imported into South Indian music. But I must 
confess that my attempts so far in that direction have not been an unqualified 
success. For whenever I tried to introduce some innovation during my practice 
hours, I found that the music lost its distinctive Carnatic stamp. Such music might 
be melodious to the ear but it has no appeal to the soul.' 

Dwaram Venkataswamy Naidu, Violin maestro in 1941 . 

(Vide Chapter IV in Part I on Trends & Trends'.) 

* * * 


i. Subramania Bharati of Ettayapuram could not restrain his emotions at the 
sight of tears. He confessed : 

' Un kannil neer vazhindal, en nenjil udhiram kottudhadi.' 

Knowing what Bharati stood for, fought for and suffered, one can appreciate 
Samuel Johnson saying, 

1 The notion of liberty amuses the people of England and helps to keep off the taedium 
vitae (loss of interest in life). When a butcher tells you that his heart bleeds for his 
country, he has, in fact, no uneasy feeling.' v 

ii. How Cardinal Wolsey of England and Mangal Pandey of the First War of 
Indian Independence (mischievously called the Sepoy Mutiny) faced the 
gallows nonchalantly is well known. Here is a contrast of the last words of two 
other great men from the pages of history : 

' Et tu, Brute ? ' - The plaintive query of Julius Caesar. 

1 He Ram ' - Thus Mahatma Gandhiji surrendered his soul and body 

to the Lord. 

Even the Golden Deer Maricha chose to utter the name of the Lord only as his life 
ended. It is on record that many musicians breathed their last singing or being sung 
to in praise of the Lord. Do they not portray the respective civilization and culture 
they represented ? 



Samuel Johnson at Pembroke College in 1754. The master received him 
coldly. Johnson at least expected that the master would order for a copy of his 
Dictionary but the master did not even choose to talk on the subject. Johnson 
said to me, - 

11 There lives a man who lives by the revenues of literature and 
will not move a finger to support it. " Boswell 

Worthy men had thus been treated very many times and worthy causes 
ignored. Boswell was to Johnson what Mahadev Desai was to Gandhiji, 
Umayalpuram Brothers were to Tyagaraja and Purandara's sons were to the 
Sangita Pitamaha. 


Telegrams and congratulations from famous persons were read out at the 
70th birthday dinner of Sir Thomas Beecham amidst immense applause. Sir 
Thomas Beecham asked, with a pained expression on his face, 

"Nothing from Mozart ?" 

Sir Neville Cardus in 'Music', 


The young musician used to bring a beautiful flask to his concerts. He would 
be frequently sipping from the cup and seen fully animated and rejuvenated, His 
dear spouse could not fathom the reason for his taking it empty and bringing it 
back unused. It was intriguing. That day, it happened to be the concert at the 
Ladies' Club and she was prominently seated in the auditorium. She could see 
him taking rhythmic sips from the empty cup. Driven by an acute feeling of 
anguish and solicitude, she procured coffee, took it to him and whispered : 

'My heart aches to see you sipping that empty cup. 
I feel like crying. Here is coffee, dear. Please... 1 

' Radha dear, you know I don't take coffee at all. This flask is now part of the musician's 
paraphernalia. It serves me most elegantly. When I sip this reddish cup I feel I am 
kissing your rosy lips, dear. How can this pale liquid provide or compensate that 

The viyoga mind becomes samyoga indeed ! 




1 Music is a kind of inarticulate, unfathomable speech which leads us to the 
edge of the Infinite and lets us for " moment's gaze into that V 


The relationship between Sound and Sense (Sound and Word) 
is a holy one and is similar to that of Parvati and Parameswara. 1 
(Vakarthaviva ... Paratneswarau.*) 

Kalidasa's ' Ragtu/vafnsa*. 

'A great musician must always use emotion as substance out of which 
beautiful forms are created. A great musician should have poise for without it his 
work perishes,' 

'We praise the composer for his genius in creating a foundation along with a 
superstructure of melodies. But we expect for the player his own skill in the 
creation of varieties of melodic flourish and ornamentations/ 

Rabhindranath Tagore. 

'Music students are among the least politicised in the world.' 

John McCabe in Musical Times. 

(Thank God ! May the devotees of melody keep it up.) 

'Believe me, I shall be composing love-songs again - addressed not to A or B 
but to Music.' 


* * * 


1 1 practise faithfully everyday. 
If I miss it one day, I notice it, 
If I miss it on two days, critics notice it. 
If I miss it on three days, audience notice it. 1 


In 'A Garland' the dedicated intensive daily practice of stalwarts like Konerirajapuram 
Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Tlrukkodikaval Krishna Ayyar, Dwaram Venkataswami Naidu, Sir 
Yehudi Menuhin, etc, is dealt with in extenso. 



B. Mathews: 

1 In the case of the first man to use an anecdote, it is orginality ; 
In the case of the second, there is plagiarism ; 
With the third, it is lack of originality ; and 
With the fourth, it is drawing from common stock. ' 

N.M. Butler: ' Yes; and in the case of the fifth, it is research. ' 

From Edmund Fuller's Anecdotes 
* * * 


Plato insisted on a knowledge of music and mathematics for admission into 
his school. Pythagoras insisted that a pupil should know geometry and music. 

' Music gives a soul to the universe, 
wings to the mind, 
flight to the imagination, 
a charm to sadness and 
gaiety and life to everything. 

It is the essence of order; leads to all that is Good, Just and Beautiful, ' 


Note: 1. The combination of mathematics and music and its utility may be canvassed 
in depth. 

2. The Government of Tamil Nadu is in favour of prescribing music as a 
compulsory subject, it is reported. 

* * * 

The lives of many stalwarts of Art, Music and Culture are shrouded in mystery. 
The exact period ofjhe revered Sadasiva Brahmendral and Arungirinathar, the 
year of birth of Tansen and Gopalakrishna Bharati, the place of birth of Jayadeva 
and Kshetragna, to mention a few, are unresolved issues. Taking the pregnant 
life of Arungirinathar, his parentage is given variously as Subbarama 
Dikshitar-Kamalambal, Rajanadha Kavi-Abhiramanayaki, as son of the sister of 
Govinda Dikshitar, etc. All are robustious surmises. His period is given differently 
as 1 375 1 450, 1 400 1 490, born in 1 571 , etc. The caste in which he was born 
is either brahmin, rudra kanigaiyar, vell^lar or none of these. 

The reason presumably lies in the Hindu faith in the ideal laid down in 
scriptures and the Gita (Chap.lll) ( to perform action without attachment 1 . 
Personality cult was unknown; all credit was dedicated to the God. 



Some are truly blessed with training under many masters and some are truly 
fortunate to claim direct or indirect line of discipleship from Tyagaraja or such 
other great master. Vivekananda mentions a case (to the contra) : 

' ...You know the boy wjpo had his head shaven... He calls himself a disciple of 
Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He had never ever-met Shri Ramakrishna in his life and 
yet a disciple! What impudence ! ' Without an unbroken chain of discipleship 
Guruparampara nothing can be done... the power that is transmitted from the guru 
to the disciple, and from him this disciples, and so on... ' 


( What is the final call of true art ? 
Not to the work which expresses it 
but to the spirit which inspires it 
the divine source of which it reminds us.' 

Paul Brunton. 

Time is fleeting, memory is short. The creative genius of today may not be there 
tomorrow. Posterity needs to be told that 'Such a genius had lived and lived so*. These 
books are titled 'Garlands' not only because these are garlands of biographies but 
because 'Maa/a'or 'Garland' brings about auspiciousness, prosperity and splendour: 

"Naam athava Sobham athava Lakshmim Latiti Maala." 


' Venkatamakhin has said that his Melakarta Scheme is mainly to indicate 
possibilities,.. He never thought that all could be handled as ragas. An 
intellectual scale need not necessarily conform to aesthetic standards. Music in 
India was evolved independently of such schemes. 

There are books giving the arohana and the avarohana of thousands of ragas. 
With five notes, 34776 ragas and with more notes 126936 (ghost) ragas are 
feasible, All mere speculation. No aesthetic feasibility. ' 

Prof. R. Srinivasan. 


' Indian music has no absolute pitch. For each occasion of singing, a drone 
furnishes a frame, a sustained tonal centre, The tonic heard continuously before, 
throughout and after the conclusion of the singing expresses the TIMELESS, the 
eternal background of things. The singing itself is an INTERLUDE. ' 

Krishna Chaitanya, 



Lad : Could you enlighten me how to write a symphony? 

Mozart ; You 're very young, man. Why not begin with ballads? 

Lad : You composed them when you were just ten years old? 

Mozart : Yes, I did. But I did n't ask ' How ? '. 

* * * 


It is common belief that Wealth and Wisdom rarely co-exist. Is not monogamy 
the ideal before Man? Probably it is a reflection of that ideal that Wealth and 
Wisdom keep apart normally. Maharajah Swati Tirunal of Trivandrum (1813 - 
1846), probably was constantly soliloquizing 'Naan Oru Vilayattu Bommayya' 
(Am I a mere plaything?). Though the tamil song of Papanasam Sivan was not 
actually there to be sung by the ruler, yet the idea was very much agitating his 
fertile mind having been relieved of every vestige of royal power by the scheming 
British and its local stooges. Likewise Rajah Serfoji of Tanjore (1798-1832) had 
to surrender his principality for a pension. Both enjoyed the titles they held but 
did not rule, though Swati Tirunal continued to reign. 

Divorced of power, their innate genius and artistic instincts asserted in a 
measure rarely witnessed elsewhere. They became supreme patrons of art, 
architecture, sculpture and literature. They are crowned immortals in their 
destined fields and their names stand inscribed in letters of gold in the eternal 
pages of the Cultural History of Bharath. 

Serfoji placed the Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjore - described by S.Gopal as 
'a product of the synthesis of three different cultures' - on the cultural map. It is 
a mine of accumulated and recorded knowledge in various faculties and the 
scholar- Raj ah has autographed the books he painstakingly secured. 

Compare their glory with the fate of a fallen Western ruler. In his 'Ode to 
Napoleon Bonaparte', Lord Byron has this: 

1 Ill-minded man ! Why scourge thy kind 

Thine only gift hath been the grave,- 
To those that worshipped thee; 
Nor till thy fall could mortals guess 
Ambition's less than littleness ! " 


the respective rulers and signifies what a nation with a spiritual and cultural base 
could confer even on a fallen ruler! That was the inherent resilient strength of 
Bharat ! 


' Today we teach only songs; 
we do not teach music.' 

Nedunuri Krishnamurti on 18 12 1991. 

' Music is an art. 
It is not to be taught as a craft.' 

Prof. V.V. Sadagopan 

In this context, the name 'Carnatic Music Training Centre' in lieu of 
'Carnatic Music College', Madras seems inappropriate. The College had an 
impressionable past but has unfortunately been downgraded in 1990 into a 
vocational training centre. It was established in August 1949 with Central and 
State Government funds. Prof. P. Sambamurty was placed in charge of the 
Advisory Committee to start the College at Rahmed Bagh, Santhome. 
Subsequently it was shifted to Bridge House, Adyar. Sangita Kalanidhi Musiri 
Subramania Ayyar was the distinguished first Principal. The institution was shifted 
to Brodi Castle (now called Thendral). The strength reached eight hundred soon. 
Sandhyavandanam Srinivasa Rao, Sangita Kalanidhi T.N. Krishnan and Dr. 
Bhanumati Ramakrishna were successive Principals. Dr. Shanmughasundaram 
is its present Principal. The downgrading of the institution is not in the best 
interests of the Art and the students. Government of Tamil Nadu may reconsider 

* * * 


The work 'Sooktimala' gives an interesting epigram : 
11 To Nightingale : 

What are the characteristics of the nightingale which are nursed by crows and 
which have black feathers (with defects). But for the presence of its melodious 
voice, it will be disdained as inferior even to the crow." 

Is it a piece of ' Nindastuti (simulated criticism )? 


True to the Rig Vedic hymn, 'Ah ne badraha kruthavo yanthu vishwathaha' 
(Let noble thoughts come to us from every side), great composers have drawn 
inspiration from diverse, noble sources. 



The cruelty of Death's vagaries robs the solace of man breathing his last in 
congenial environment amidst his kith and kin when it overtakes him in strange 
places like: 

G.N. Balasubramaniam at Trivandrum 

Tiger Varadachariar at Trivandrum 

Veena Balachander at Bhilai. 

John Higgins (in an accident). 

Maharajapuram V. Santhanam (in a tragic road accident). 


1 An unthinking compliance with convention is what Indian music has no place 
for. Nor is it satisfied with minimal thought, minor shuffling of emphasis in set 
musical arrangements. Here the arrangement is the arrangement of silence, or 
rather an arrangement of emotion - bhava. After the musician has collected his 
thoughts, he picks up a raga...Now he must explore the emotion he has chosen, 
its nuances, making the notes of the raga an instrument of drama as it were... The 
music assumes an improvisatory character from here on. He now proceeds to a 
delectation of pure experience, not emotion any longer but its distillation into an 
abstract purity; the genesis as well as culmination of all emotion. ' 

Gopal Sharman 


Unsolicited noice from the neighbour's television or radio or loud talks or a 
blaring loudspeaker maddens, damages the psychological and physical health of 
many people. Noisy light music with its imposing array of players and blaring 
instruments tend to upset many. Thumping percussionists spoil the melodic, 
soothing effect of a concert. In such cases, it is only the source or origin that 
needs to be controlled as no amount of effort at the receiving end could contain 
the disturbance and bestow satisfactory benefits 

1 Human response to sound is more logarithmic than linear; to halve the loudness of 
sound a person hears, the energy of the generated noise must be reduced by a factor 
of 10. This is made doubly difficult because only a fraction of the operational power of 
noise source is converted into sound and reducing something that is already small 
is a problem. ' 

- Frank Fahy, University of Southampton in 'New Scientist 1 . 



"Only out of a beautiful heart or mind can a work of true beauty be prodi 

A country without culture, without music, painting, poetry, drama and liter* 
is a country without a soul. 

Art may be the mere embellishment of a drab human existence ; or it 
become a veritable approach to divine existence, 11 

Paul Brur 

11 The Indian Tradition is probably the only living tradition that worships S< 
and Music - Sabda and Nadha - and the personification of this Sabda Brahmz 
Nadha Upasana is the Indian God of Dance, namely Siva-Nataraja. " 

Dr, Shankar Dayal Sharma, President of !r 

* Tyagaraja's songs refer to every aspect of the art, musical concepts, pra 
of music and music as a yoga and a ssddhi, as a path and a realisation. ' 

1 Without poetry, music, dance and drama, there is no zest in living. Wit 
Jhis zest, life is a drab. If I had my way, I would make dance, music and gra< 
behaviour (not outward but of the soul) cumpulsory subjects. * 

Dr. K.M. Munshi(1 

1 The compositions of Muthuswamy Dikshitar are mostly in the majestic 
tempo bringing out the essence of the ragas. Why ? Basically his experts 
veena ought to have exercised its profound influence. Secondly, he should si 
have been won over by the serene environment and atmosphere and by 
santhi that prevailed and enveloped the very large Tiruvarur temple ol 
Tyagarajaswami and Kamalalayam, the vast tank adjacent to it. He should \ 
visited the temple many times a day for worship and meditation and freque 
the tank for his ablutions, etc. Considerable part of his time ought to have 
been spent in the temple with its vast prakaras (15 acres; 23316 sq. ft.) anc 
tank with its vast expanse of water (18 acres, 22367 sq.ft.). Fifteen dec* 
back, these should have been the abodes of santiand vicranii. One has to sp 
a day there at least now to assimilate this point. It will aid in bringing down b 
pressure too. Erudite scholarship, scholarly father and brothers at he 
religious bent of mind and total surrender to bhakti could find, in the environr 
of the temple and the tank, no better tempo than the tsouka kala. This becar 
way of life aided and confirmed by his pedestrian travels trekking through 




AC ram-a+i^ mi icir \A/SQ takan as a nrimarv aid for devotion (Nadopasa 


Melody and not Harmony could liaise with and lead to the Ultimate. 

* * * 


' Indian Art is not concerned with the conscious striving after Beauty as a thing 
worthy to be sought after for its own sake; its main endeavour is always directed 
towards the realisation of an area reaching through the limits to the Infinite. ' 

E.B. Havel!. 

* * * 


1 Can one imagine anything in the art which would surpass the visible 
rendering of sound, which would enable the eyes to partake of all the pleasures 
which music gives to the ears ? ' 

Prof. Louis Bertrand Castel (c. 1720) 

* * * 


' Music is the most abstract of all arts.... the feeling distilled in sound assumes 
a time-form which is definite, but a meaning which is undefinable and yet which 
grips our mind with a sense of absolute truth. ' 

Rabhindranath Tagore. 

* * * 

i. None of the arts was born from their grammar. Grammar came along after Art 
was born and had developed to high levels of skill and awareness. We are 
fortunate that no one concocts a grammar and then gets an art to conform to 
it. Once grammar is born, corroborated and practised, it becomes a reality far 
greater than the art which it is the grammar of. The grammar becomes the 
preservative in which the art lives. Every generation gets an opportunity to 
re-fertilise the grammar. 

Raghava R. Menon 

ii. Nobel Prize Winner Dr. S. Chandrasekhar is puzzled by the dichotomy: 

:ist is his first; 

1 ' 

'Truth & Beauty' 

1 It is often the case that the most important discovery of a scientist is his first; and in 
contrast, the deepest creation of an artiste is actually often his last. ' 

Note; This offers true scope for research. 



Comparisons are iniquitous but they indicate relative values and standards, 
Here is a story recounted by B.C.Deva; 

Swami Haridas, the greatest singer of his time, was a recluse and hermit 
indifferent to laurels. Emperor Akbar longed to hear him but the Swami, like 
Tyagaraja, was out of bounds to the writ and pressures of sovereign powers. 
Finally Tansen suggested a ruse. Akbar went with Tansen as his tambura-bearer 
and listened with rapt wonder to the heavenly music of Haridas. Akbar enquired 
of Tansen , 

1 How is that with all your greatness, your music is so poor compared to the Swamiji's ? ' 
The polite answer of Tansen was: 

' What else can it be ? For I sing to the Emperor of this land, but he sings to the Emperor 
of the Creation ! ' 

The naked truth and the audacity of the reply are matched only by poet 
Kambar's reply to the Chola king: 

' You may be respected within the frontiers of thy kingdom; 
but the poet is respected wherever he goes. ' 

* * * 

11 It means the primacy of raga bhava.... unfolding of the raga swaroopa... 
Hitting the ball out of the ground may be the acme of skill in cricket but in tennis 
the ball must land within the court every time. If one innovates in tennis by hitting 
the ball out of the ground, it ceases to be tennis.' (P,K. Doraiswami). None can 
excel this succinct statement. 

Even so, classical Carnatic music has its well-spelt-out theory, .known 
traditions and conventions, like the British Parliamentary System, which together 
lay the royal road (rajamarga) to classicism. 

* * * 


I When through music, the world comes into my vision, 
I see Him; I know Him/ 

I 1 have sung many songs for Thee Oh ! Lord 
but ask for no return. ' 

1 Thou hast sung many songs for me 
Thou cans't not help but remember. ' 

Rabhindranath Tagore ( 1 861 - 1 941 ) 



A jackass with strong musical intents one night sauntered into a cucumber 
field and enjoyed himself to his heart's content together with a jackaL. making a 
fine though rather ill-timed dinner, He decided to make a song of it and asked the 
jackal what raga he would like. 

' Is it necessary ? Couldn't you do without it ? (disguising his alarm). 
People with coughs don't steal and as for your voice... ' 

The jackass took the reply to be higly uncomplimentary and got off promptly 
to theorise: 

' Listen, there are seven swaras, three scales, twenty-two srutis... knowing all these, I can 
sing melodiously. ' 

' Very well, have it your way. I am at the gate keeping an eye open for the farmer and 
his son, ' 

Our musician was too slow to take the Jackal's hint and started. The farmer 
rushed in and expressed his somewhat unkind appreciation with a stick. 

Story from 'Panchatanira' cited by Gopal Sharman. 


Abhinava Gupta, who wrote a commentary on Anandavardhana's Vhwani' 
theory stated that in all art forms, suggestion is more powerful than statement, It 
is of particular relevance to raga alapana as raga only suggests and hints at 
various emotions. 

Lalita Ramakrishna in 'Raga & Rasa' in Shanmukha 1 0/90 


' If I go to Heaven, which f very much doubt, ! shall ask of God one favour. And 
that is to send Shakespeare down to earth and make him sit for Madras University 
Examination in Shakespeare just for the fun of seeing him fail. ' 

Malcolm Muggeridge. 

A certain tribute to the standards that prevailed then. Likewise, if 
Venkatamakhin or Subbarama Dikshitar had been asked to sit for a paper on 
'iakshanas' (theory) at the Music Academy in the second quarter of this century, 
the fun of seeing them fail would positively have been provided ! 



* A hoax was played on very respectable musicians like Sernmangudi Srsnivasa 
Ayyar and Musiri Subramania Ayyar that Papanasam Sivan was dead - Vide 'A 
Garland 'page 497. (Telephone aids such subterfuges as seen from oft-recurring 
hoax-threats to flights which are religiously and enthusiastically publicised too 
inducing mischief-mongers with a fifteen paise postcard or a rupee coin to make 
a phone call to enjoy such jokes.) Here is a beautiful epigram of Ben Johnson 
(penned prior to Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Watson, etc, perfected the 

Ben Johnson to King James: 

' Upon the happy false rumour of his death on March 20, 1607: 

11 That we thy loss might know; 
And thou our love, 
Great Heaven did well 
To give ill fame free wing ! " 

Rajah Bhartruhari did it to highlight human frailties and distortions. Like King 
James, Papanasam Sivan lived long, blessed by the hoax since the soft, great 
vaggeyakara could die only when the Celestial cail was due. 

* * * 

1 Music is the only sensual pleasure without vice. ' 
1 Thy body is all vice ; thy mind all virtue. ' 

Samuel Johnson. 

Vide 'Boom, Booze, Doom 1 at page 444 of A Garland. Magnificent lives with 
phenomenal fame, popularity and prospects invited doom on themselves. Could 
the body act independent of the mind? Vice on virtue, does it not originate in the 
mind ? If the mind is the principal player, does not the body play only a supportive 
role as voice support or second fiddle or percussive support ? Johnson seems 
to err. 

* * * 


1 The violin was the passport, purse and the path to the summit of society. ' 

Yehudi Menuhin. 

Menuhin was referring to the past. In the world of Carnatic music, veena had 
occupied a similar place. 



' He who can, does. % 

He who cannot, teaches.' 

George Bernard Shaw. 

* * * 

Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar suggested in 1938 in Ananda Vikatan imposing 
a ban on repeating any kirtan for at least five years to salvage ignored, neglected, 
forgotten compositions of merit. 

Vatsala Bhaskaran in Shanmukha4/9Q 

Fifty-four long years have passed, The suggestion of the maestro has gone 
the way of the sermons of Presidents and Prime Ministers made daily. Cannot 
the Federation of Sabhas make a trial for a season or a year before the 
suggestion celebrates its Sashtiapthapoorti ! 

* * * 


Tyagaraja has himself demonstrated the subtle difference between kriti and 
kirtan in two songs with identical pallavi - Koluvaiyunnade (Bhairavi) and 
Koluvaiyunnade (Devagandhari). One enables ample scope for vowel extension 
to bring in sangatis which provide for creativity and ornamentation and focus on 
the soul of Carnatic music. Tyagaraja was not only a brilliant vaggeyakara but a 
lakshanakara of immense merit who illustrated the hard facts of theory through 
his delectable songs providing examples. He claims the privilege of Sangita 
Sastra Gnani in the song 'Sangita Sastra Gnanamu' (Salagabhairavi). Music 
impregnated with a good text like the Ramayana full of rasas confers Sarupya, 
affection, devotion, good attachments, Lord's grace, glory and wealth! 

Dr. S.A.K. Durga (June 28, 1992) 

* * * 


Celestial music inspires and there is identity of interest among great masters 
in bringing to focus noble concepts and thoughts . T.S. Parthasarathy gives some 
specimen songs of Tyagaraja : 

Nada tanum (ChittaranjaniJ" 

Nadopasana (Begada) 

Sangita Ratnakara, etc. 

Sobhillu (Jagantnohini)__ 

Telisi Rama (Purnachandrika) Upeya Nama Viveka of Upanishad Brahman Yogi 

Nadachi Nadachi (Kharaharapriya) Khelati Mama Hridaye of Sadasiva Brahmendral. 

Fundamental truths are eternal. 



The great Mangudi musician of yester decades was an eminent scholar in 
Sanskrit lore. Past his prime, he gave a concert obliging the large number of his 
sincere admirers. It was a sad, harrowing experience and a dismal dis- 
appointment to all of them. But the aged vidwan did not take it to heart. 

Admirer S: Sir, how is It that you have lost track of even the sahitya ? 

Vidwan : ' RunShu bhanda rupSha 

Pasu patni Sudhalaya I 

Runa KshayS" Kshayarn yanti 

Ka tatra parivedanah ' II 

(Family members and assets gather together at different times as a result of the karma 
of previous births. When the debt is discharged, each individual departs. This is our 
Sastra. I learnt sahitya and it was with me. The time has come for it to go. It has left. 
Neither sahitya nor I am responsible !) 

Admirer R : Vidwanji, let it be so. How you could lose the beauty of your raga 
rendition too ? 

Vidwan : ' Idham kSshtam idham kSshtam 

Nadhi theere samagamah I 

SamyQ^gancha viyogancha 

Ka tatra parivedhanah ' II 

(On either side of the river, there was a log. Let them represent the sahitya and the raga. 
When the river flowed to its brim, both joined the stream and sailed along enjoying each 
other's company. The river branched off into two after some distance. Each log entered 
one of the branches as if bidding good bye to each other. How can we cry over it ? 

Admirer T: Sorry to mention, Sir, that sahitya and raga might have deserted you 

because of age. But the talas are elementary. Even that was faulty today? 

Vidwan : ' Eka Vrukshe Samarootah 

Nana pakshi Samagamah I 

Dhoora Dhooreshu Deseshu 

Ka tatra parivedhanah 1 1 

(That is understandable, friend. The tree in the forest is full of fruits. Birds from diverse 
places frequent it. Hunger satisfied, they fly back to their respective homes. They were 
together and enjoyed company and food for a brief while, you see. Sahitya left like the 
bereavement of a family member. Raga left next like the log in the river without much 
ado. Why tala should remain alone ? Like the bird it too deserted the tree and the 
forest ! I am the tree, lone and alone. No need to worry. ) 


His spiritual erstwhile nadopasana stood him emotionally in good stead. 
Admirers were soaked in tears and ' shed some pious drops '. 


I got the horoscope of a top-level artiste and gave it to the Astrological Bureau 
as the horoscope of ' Mr, X ' for processing. The report given by the Centre is 
given below: 

II Bom in Rishabha lagnam. Birth No. is 9. Fate No. is 2. Lagnadhipan 
Sukran, who is also kala-karakan, is in Baghyasthana. Chandran is in Katakam 
having the sapthama aspects of Sukran and Suryan.. Rahu is in Vagsthana, 
receiving the sapthama aspects of Budha and Kethu, and also getting the special 
aspect of Kumbha Guru. 

An artist by birth, with full of shiva-shakthi kripa. He is a pundit with natural 
inclination to do research and discover unknown mystical connections present in 
cosmic structure; capable of reaching unreachable depths and experiencing 

Sukra getting the aspect of Sani also. This should have made him at once a 
disciplinarian and adventurer. Intellectual impatience, bordering sometimes on 
arrogance, should have made him not-a-very-sought-after person in his earlier 
part of life. Only those, who can conquer their own initial inhibitions, would have 
been able to get the immense benefits of his association. 

From the point of view of others, he should have suffered a lot in the first three 
decades of his life. Totally and recklessly brushing aside the importance of the 
things mundane, he would have lived in his own world of creation. When others 
could not understand or appreciate this attitude and found it difficult to get along 
with him, they would have tasted his impatience and sometimes even anger. As 
life moved on, the same persons would have become very intimate towards him, 

This individual's success story commences with the beginning of Sukra Dasa 
on 26-7-1961. Thereafter, he would never have looked back. The ascending 
trend would have also made him more and more likeable. The nicety, polish and 
gloss would have enriched not only his external behaviour but also the deeper 
recesses of his mind. 

When his inner experiences of the ineffable divine bliss emerged as artistic 
nutnurinas. the rasikas would have become mental slaves and addicts. Vrischika 


The Lord of his Birth No. and also Lagnam, Angaraka happens to be in 
Vrayasthana in his horoscope, without any subha drishti. The colourful fireworks 
of this artist is quite likely to come to a sudden end, " 

1 5-09-92. Kudanthai Sa. Venkataraman 

Chengacherial Astrological Centre, 

Confidential Note; As mentioned earlier, the name of the artiste was withheld from 
the Astrological Centre. Now it is shared with the artiste's admirers. The horo- 
scope is that of Veena Dr. S. Balachander whose life finds place in Part II. Admirers 
may assess the significance of the predictions. 

MUDRA (Signature): 

This is not the monopoly of musical composers alone. Hoysala sculpture has 
the unique feature of individual sculptural works bearing the signatures of 
individual creators! In Somnathpur seven signatures are stated to have been 
found around the walls from the basement. Mudras are classified under : 

Kshetra (shrine) Linga (Deity - Pancha Linga, etc.) 

Bhakti (Devotion) Vamsa and Rasa. 

Raja (Pallavi Gopalayyar's Acharya (Paidala Gurumurti Sastri 

Todi-Kanakangi) on his guru) 


11 Where ignorance is bliss, 
Tis folly to be wise. " Grey. 

The rendition is very pleasing. Mix-up of shades of other ragas does not 
involve the lay lover of melody sans science. Critic Subbudu once wrote; 

' Pushpalathika is an enchanting and haunting raga... has many next-of-kin hovering 
around it It has a chameleon-like character, now sounding like Sreeragam, now 
Madhyamavati and now Manlrangu... I am not ashamed to admit that I mistook the 
alapana at the initial stages for Manlrangu and only later 1 could identify it as Push- 
palathika. ' 

Whether this is a veiled attack or an innocent statement is not known. Whether 
the rendition is in Darbar or Nayaki, Bhairavi or /Wan/7, Kedaragaula or 
Narayanagaula, Bilahah or Desakshi, Varali or Vijayasri, Ahiri or Vakulabharana 
does not matter to the lay so long as it pleases the ears. As Tanjore 
T.R. Kalyanasundaram says, ' the grace of a raga is not lost if owing to mistaken 
interpretation of the listener, it is construed as Pratapa Varali and not Nata 
Narayani '. Someone however whispers that while rose is no less fragrant if called 
nthefr name, it would not then cost that much ! That, of couse, is true. 


Ignorance is Bliss; all glory to it. Knowledge kills that easily available Bliss. It 
makes mountain of a molehill, Sans knowledge, the ear, tongue and nose hold 
undisputed sway, For instance, at Tonga there was a royal feast. The gracious 
queen was helping herself to chunks of a particular dish a special delicacy. 
P.C. Alexander, Secretary to the Guest of Honour Indira Gandhi, records: 

' When she said that it was octopus, my appetite disappeared totally on knowing it. I 
could not bring myself to eat any fish or meat at that feast after that ! ' 

The erstwhile castle of satisfaction built on the base of his ignorance was 
smashed to pieces by that ray of knowledge!! Even so, the connoisseur looks to 
unpolluted classical stuff making it more and more difficult to the uninitiated. The 
gulf widens! Scientific music is for a restricted oligarchy, the cognoscenti. 

How knowledge changed the attitude of the good, pious ruler of the Palghat is 
relevant and interesting. He fell in love with a huntress. His wise minister got him 
confess the cause of his forlorn condition. He assured the ruler of satisfaction 
subject to his not talking to the huntress and not seeking a light at the meet ! The 
ruler met her at a chosen mandap that night and had satisfaction. Alas, the ruler 
realised suddenly that he had sinned and refused to perform his regal duty. Only 
when the minister revealed that the lady of the mandap was none but his own 
queen, he felt relieved. He resumed his duties but only after doing penance for 
having entertained sinful thoughts Palghat Purana. 


i. Koneri Vaidyanatha Ayyar was vocal support to Harikatha maestro 
Tirupazhanam Panchapakesa Sastri. His voice was then gruff, lacked 
pliability and could not translate his rich mental formulations. With cutting 
sarcasm, Sastri told him that his (Ayyar's ) voice was too good for musical 
discourse and that he could seek his fortunes as a vocalist. Konerirajapuram 
has a beautiful Nataraja icon. Even as the Lord danced to win, Vaidyanatha 
vowed that either he became a matchless vocalist or his arteries would burst 
in his efforts to tame the intractable voice. And with tenacious will-power he 
tamed and seasoned his turbulent voice. He dwarfed stalwarts and shot to the 
top as a vocalist. 

ii. When Mysore Vasudevacharya was ridiculed, . he resolved to attain 
proficiency and secure recognition from Vina Seshanna himself. He 
requested him to accept him as a disciple. 

' You and music are poles apart. Why should you bother about music ? 
Eat nicelv and feel contented. ' 


' You will not be able to learn music. ' 

' If I do ? ' 

' If you do not ? ' 

' I shall discard my sacred thread. ' 

They were travelling by a train in second and third classes respectively. The 
test was that Seshanna would teach Ata tala varna in Sankarabharanam 
'Chalamelara' whenever the train stopped between Coimbatore and Bangalore, 
that he would not repeat the varna and at Bangalore Vasudeva should render it 
fully! At each stop, Vasudeva would go, hear, come back and memorise when 
the train was on the move. Bangalore Cantonment saw the guru shedding tears 
of joy and hug his disciple and say: 

1 Acharya! I committed a great blunder. I apologize to you. Forgive me. 
When my days are over, my place will surely be yours. ' 

Seshanna was in ecstacy and young Vasu soon blossomed into a stalwart 
musician, composer and teacher. 

iii. T.R. Mahalingam could not get training from Flautist Sanjiva Rao. When Mali 
played , Rao shouted in contempt, ' Is it flute play? ' The Head of the Music 
College, Chidambaram too denied him a seat. Mali's precocity asserted 
itself and quite soon he became a legend. 

iv. Pachimirium Adiappaier of ( Viriboni ' fame hounded out young Gopala 
shouting, ' Away with you; not even Lord Venkatesa can blow a whiff of music 
into you '. Gopala willed to get his master's blessing and toiled hard. Later, 
one day, he sat at the doorstep of his master's house and $ang away all he 
had. The guru's lady was surprised and told Adiappier on his return. He 
summoned Gopala and asked him to sing, " Out carne Vanajakshi, a tana 
varna in Kalyani... came Kanakangi, another tana varna in Todi. Adiappier 
was in transports. He found his equal. 'Dear Gopal, I called upon 
Vankateswara when I cold-shouldered you. I see, you have His blessings in 
abundance. Go to Tirupati, sing His praises and write your name in letters 
of gold on the tablet of time/ " 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 

That was pallavi Gopala Ayyar ! And he got his doctorate from his eminent 
guru himself. 



i. Gottuvadyam Sakharama Rao insisted on complete disciplined silence. If 
anyone dared to speak, he would take his gottuvadyam, walk away. and 
would not accept his fee... I cannot think of anyone extracting such iron 
discipline. He was paid Rs.35 out which he would give Rs.ten to his brother. 
There would be no mathematica! struggle in his concert. No mridangam too. 
His concert would be reposeful and sweet. 

Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar in 'Kalakshetra' 

ii. The Madras sabha leaning towards chamber music concerts, 'Nadopasana' 
distributed a small yellow chit carrying a plea- 

' Kindly avoid leaving the hall while the Tha'ni Avarthanam* is on or 
while a song is being rendered or during mangalam. ' 

* ( Percussion Solo) 

The request reflects what everybody entertains sometime or other and looked 
forward to its strict enforcement except in his individual case perhaps. An interval 
is desirable but how to marshal back the audience! Closing the gates would 
convert it into a concentration camp. Of course, the musician too has to cooperate 
and ought not to drive the listener to jump discipline by escaping through the 
window regardless of physical injury! 


Nagaswara prodigy T.N. Rajarathinam Pillai died. The cortege covered the 
distance from Adyar to All India Radio on the Marina. Pillai's recorded music was 
all got and played all through the route. A rare tribute without a parallel! 


National Institute of Community Development, Hyderabad; 1971. The Dean 
gave a tea to the sixteen participants at his residence. He asked the author (of 
the Garland Series) to sing. The author explained, 'mine is of bathroom variety' 
and sought to be excused, Promptly the Dean requisitioned a bucket of water, 
soap, towel, etc,, to provide the accoustics! 



Konerirajapuram Vaidyanatha Ayyar did not belong to Konerirajapuram but to 


Papanasam Sivan did not belong to Papanasam but to Poiagam. 
Karaikudi Veena Brothers did not belong to Karaikudi but to Tirugokarnam. 


Murnmadi Krishnaraja Wodeyar, Ruler of Mysore had deep and scholarly 
interest in epics and discourses. Subramanyachar earned his goodwill with his 
delectable discourses. One day the discourse in the palace was delayed as the 
ruler was preoccupied. It was a long wait. 'My father stretched himself on the 
floor and slipped into deep sleep gently snoring. The ruler got the bundle of books 
brought by my father removed stealthily and then had him woken up. Without 
any visible sign of embarrassment, father resumed the discourse with his usual 
elegance least affected by the disappearance of the books. Royal admiration was 
total and my father was appointed as Asthana Vidwan. 1 

Mysore K. Vasudevacharya in 'Memoirs' 


1 Before I attained three years, I lost my father. My mother was in despair. My 
grandfather took me to the Dewan-Administrator Rangacharlu. He dismissed us 
both summarily saying that the State had no resources to maintain beggars! The 
second audience resulted only in the Dewan's outburst and my grandfather hitting 
back that the Dewan's treatment was a poor recompense for all the reverence and 
regard the Maharajah had to my father. Some time later, Rangacharlu came to 
our house personally and not only apologised for the rude treatment but granted 
Rs.four and a half per month for my education as stipend! 

- K. Vasudevacharya in 'Memoirs'. 

Dewan Rangacharlu had shown his character and capacity to repair a wrong; 
better late than never. 


i. The Ruler of Mysore, Krishnaraja Wodeyar was a connoisseur and patron of 
music and had the galaxy to regale him with the best. One day, the 
penetrating tune of a beggar woman in the street enthralled him so much that 
he requested Vasudevacharya to get the notation for it and render it! Poor 
Vasudevacharya ran round the streets and ultimately located her in the slum 
near Rani Choultry. He parted with his costly upper cloth, got the song 


notated, hurried back and demonstrated the tune. The pleased ruler knowing 
that he had bartered away his upper cloth for the song presented him with a 
costly shawl. 

K. Vasudevacharya in 'Memoirs'. 

Probably that was Vasudevacharya 's maiden attempt at notation and his only 
indulgence in light music! There is the further fact that the beggar turned out 
to be his guru even as tribal Sabari was host to Prince Rama at a lunch ! 

ii. Several beggars do have a captivating voice and enchanting free-lance 
rendition all unconsciously scattered for a small coin ! ( Would not Wardha 
Scheme envisaged by Gandhiji and Rajaji spot out native talents in these and 
shape them up under the scheme TRYSEM ?) Malaikottai Govindaswami 
Filial once found exhilarant music in a beggar and appreciated the hidden 
raga 'Sindhu Bairavi*. He exchanged satisfaction for rupee one (then) and a 
silk saree! Was the beggar aware of her potential? Many a flower is born to 
waste its fragrance! Musical acumen is no warranty or passport to eminence. 
Dame luck should be there too! How many K.B. Sundarambal(s) waste their 
talents in streets, bus-stands and trains! S.G. Kittappa is a scarce resource !! 


The apparently more sophisticated western flute is unable to produce the 
nuances which the bamboo flute effortlessly brings out, says Dr. N. Ramani, the 
top-ranking flautist. 


India has a very rich tradition of folk music. While the elite have always 
sought to maintain the distinction between the Margi (classical) and the Deshi 
(folk) music, it is very significant that Matanga of the eighth century called his 
great work on music - 


Krishna Chaitanya, 


'Seven or eight pairs of nagaswara vidwans would play for daily temple 
processions and during the main gopura-vasaf aradhana, all would play 


together. At such moments, even atheists would feel overwhelmed by bhakti. 
Mallari (Nattai) and only ghana ragas (Todi, Sankarabharanam, Kharaharapriya, 
etc.), pallavi and one or two Tiruppugazh would constitute the programme for the 
whole night. Raga elaboration was the main and no kritis. Kritis were started by 
Tiruppamburam Brothers, Madurai Ponnusami and Tiruvizhimalalai Brothers.' 

Dr. Semmangudi Srinivasa Ayyar. 

Note : The nagaswara artistes cited played the role for nagaswara what 
Ariyakudi did for concerts. 

* * * 

Kanjira is a secondary percussion accompaniment only. But in the 
programmes of 1915, kanjira with Manpoondia Pillai as the artiste had figured 
below violin and above mridangam! 

When teenage Palghat Man! faced for the first time Dakshinamurti Pillai on 
kanjira being given the pride of place on the concert stage, he revolted and cried 
that the instrument should decide the place and rank and not the seniority of 
individual artistes. He won! 

Now ghatam has emerged as the popular second-level accompaniment (upa 
vadya) at concerts - probably for want of enough kanjira artistes. 


The instrument was called 'Jha Vari' according to 'Kumara Tantra\ says 
Avudayarkoil Harihara Bhagavatar. His father Sitarama Bhagavatar had 
accompanied Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar on gottuvadyam and he too had-done so. 
Ravi Kiran calls it Chitra Veena. 


Audanoor P. Haridas, M.A. B.Sc., Dip (Indian Music), a disciple of Mangudi 
Dorairaja Bhagavatar has developed a mridanga veenai to be operated with 
bamboo sticks; can be played by both mridangists and violinists. 


Rabhindranath Tagore, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahakavi Subramania Bharati and 


many Carnatic musicians hated, as the soul of Indian music with its gamakas, 
glides and continuity could not be reproduced on it. It was hounded out of the All 
India Radio also in 1939 but was allowed to return in 1 971 - after thirty-two years 
of exile. Brother of C.V. Raman, C.S. Ayyar described singing with harmonium as 
'being married to a woman afflicted to tuberculosis'. Strangely Hemambikadas 
Perur Subramania Dikshitar was non pare/7 in playing on harmonium. 
K.S. Devudu Ayyar, S.G. Kasi Ayyar, A. Arunachalappa, Urayur Khader Batcha 
and K.T. Nataraja Pillai were masters on harmonium providing exquisite voice and 
instrumental support on the dramatic stage with classical songs. Maiaikottai 
Govindaswami Pil!ai, Jalatarangam Ramaniah, actress P.S. Ratna Bai and 
T.A. Sambamurti Asariar were harmonists too. 


Swati went to a lake to fetch water. There was a sudden downpour and rain 
drops spluttered on lotus leaves which presented a green carpet on the lake. Rain 
drops trickling on the leaves produced a pleasing rhythm with an ebb and flow of 
the pitch to the sensitive ears of Swati (which cannot be appreciated by most now 
suffering noise-pollution). Inspired by it, with his creative instinct and with the 
help of Vishwakarma, he fashioned the mridangam with a body of 'mrith' (clay). 
The mridangam thus made its appearance. Bharata traced his knowledge of 
percussive instruments to Swati and Narada. 

Till the turn of the century mridangam was much smaller with larger drum 
heads. The change is attributed to the Pudukottai maestro, Dakshinamurti Pillai 
by TV. Gopalakrishnan. 

Tanjore bani (style) laid stress on sahitya (text of song) and Pudukottai on 
solkattus.' B.M. Sundaram mentions that mridangam and maddalam are different 
and that mridangam, though older, came into music concerts only when public 
recitals came into vogue. 


' The song in raga Sarasangi "Menu Juchi Mosa" is cast in a language totally 
unworthy of a composer of avowed saintliness. There are at least a dozen of his 
compositions which are in similar worldly language. ' 

The controversy was carried on in 'Sruti'. The cited song is to the following 

' Oh mind! Do not get deluded by the illusory personal appearance of women. If you 


pierce with their breasts which like mounds provide the resting place for heads. ' 

An issue for deep consideration! Saints and poets refer in such contexts to 
the enticing, voluptuous breed and not to the entire fair sex as such. Tyagaraja 
has only clarified what the Lord has said: 

1 The turbulent senses, O Son of Kunti, do violently carry away 
the mind of a wise-man, though he be striving (to control them). ' 

Bhagawad Gita - 11-60. 


11 What Oscar Wilde said of Swinburn could well apply to Veena Baiachander 
- 'He has his limitations, the chief of which, curiously enough, (is) the lack of any 
sense of limit.' " 

S. Krishnan. 


Sultan of Kara (about sixty kilometers from Allahabad), a vassal of the Sultan 
of Janupur garnered a large number of books, started a library on music and 
convened a conference of the best scholars. Entrusted with the task of preparing 
a work on music, the scholars brought out the work 'Sangita Siromani'to which 
the Sultan is stated to have added his views. 

R. Rangaramanuja Ayyangar. 

Note: This happened just three years after the first Battle of Panipat. It is seen that 
cultural activity had been carried on notwithstanding the historic political 
upheaval which is a tribute to the Spirit of Bharath! 


i. Chewing betels with arecanut and chunnam has been a favourite pastime of 
the rich and the poor in India. The trio constitute the symbol of 
auspiciousness and is vital at functions. It clears the throat; and so, is a 
favourite with musicians. Handling this trinity is a seductive art specialised in 
by professionals. They would seem to represent bhava, raga and tala 
(rhythm). When tobacco enters, it is like the miscellany (tukkada) which gives 
the kick ! 

ii. Syama Sastri of the Carnatic Trinity was fond of chewing. Once the mouthful 
paste spilt on his preceptor Adippiah. When Sastri felt shaken, Adippiah set 
him at rest saying that he took it as a benediction of Goddess Kamakshi, at 


whose temple Sastri was a priest. 

iii. Mysore Vasudevacharya was undergoing training under Patnam Subramania 
Ayyar at Tiruvaiyaru. Violin maestro Tirukodikaval Krishna Ayyar visited 
Tiruvaiyaru and was doing his customary practice in the pre-dawn hours. 
Vasudeva sat under the window outside the house and was enjoying the 
masterly Kambhoji ragalapana and pallavi. He was drinking deep the joyous 
stream of sweet melody emanating from inside. When at last Krishna Ayyar 
was seen coming towards the window, young Vasu was afraid to stir out 
fearing detection. 

11 Ayyar spat out the pan he had been chewing all along right on my head. Ayyar saw me 
only after the mischief had been done. ( Who would have imagined that Vasu was 
hiding under the outer window in his anxiety to hear music at such an early hour!) He 
came out profusely apologizing, 

1 Oh, What a sin have I committed. You must kindly forgive me. ' 

' Far from it, Sir. I take it as the very blessing of Sarada Devi (Goddess of Learning) . This 
is indeed the reward of my good deeds in earlier births ! " 

The highly embarrassed maestro took Vasu inside and after a wash drenched 
him with exquisite pallavi all over again - a gala special for him! 


iv. Veena Dhanammal while rendering a Sanskrit sloka took a mouthful of betels. 
The patriot-parliamentarian-connoisseur of music, S. Satyamurti felt 
concerned about the consequential rendition. To his amazement, there 
flowed chaste, clear verse 'Agrekruthva' from the betel-stoked mouth of 
Dhanammal. Satyamurti then conceded that it was but proper for her to stuff 
her mouth with betels! Source: T Sankaran. 


Actors and musicians rarely touched a drink while on the stage; and the mike 
had not made its advent then. Then pepper and sugarcandy were favoured by 
vocalists. Now the flask of coffee is part of the scanty equipment of even the 
juniormost vocalist aided with the mike. Accompanists to the right, left and back 
and the audience in front enjoy the rhythmical intake of coffee for the health of the 

This brings to mind an incident reported in 'A Garland ': 

11 Semmangudi Dr. Srinivasa Ayyar asked his long-time friend and admirer, 
Sri Udayar, 


' You have been listening to my concerts for decades. What have 
you done for me ? ' 

1 1 have been listening to your music for decades, What have you 
done to me ? ' 

So saying, Udayar snatched away Ayyar's angavastram (upper cloth) and walked 
away ! " 

Assuming that Ayyar is a thirty-year old musician now, the angavastram 
would not be there but only the flask! What will be Udayar's reaction ? 


Love of the Cauvery and Tiruvaiyaru was only second to love of his Ishta 
Devata, Sri Rama. Tyagaraja's Sari Vedalina (Asaveri) is a portrayal of the then 
majestic river in its full flow, Muripemu Galige Gade (Mukhari) is a challenge to 
the Prince of Ayodhya whether He could ever think of saying 'no' to the query - 

'Oh Rama! Are you not happy that you have secured a charming and 
beautiful place known as the Panchanada Kshetra beautiful in all this world on the 
bank of the Cauvery over which blows the incomparable zephyr... palatial and 
beautiful buildings... divine trees with sweet-smelling flowers... melody of 

The Saint feels pleased that his Rama is well accommodated on the bank of 
the river which he loves and at the place blessed by Nature bountifully. How 
serene and heavenly Tiruvaiyaru should have been fifteen decades back! 


None teaches a fisher-boy to swim. Even so, heredity places the progeny in 
the path, tradition, virtue and genius of the family and the birth of a prodigy is not 
a freak occurrence but almost the rule. 

a. The Sembanarkoil nagaswara family: Pallavi Vaidyanathan (c. 1895) left 
behind the renowned Ramasamy, who left a crop of four (SRG,SRD,SRVand 
SRK) each of whom left off-shoots in SRGR, SRGS, SRDM, SRDV, SRVD 
and SRKK. And the focus goes on enlarging. 


b. The family of the Tanjore Quartette: Starting from Gangaimuthu Nattuvanar 
(1 7th Cent.}, the family has presented successive waves of highly competent 
composers, musicians, dancers, etc. K.P. Sivanandam and K.P. Kittappa 
represent the family now. 

c. Lalgudi, Maharajapuram, Karaikudi, Rudrapatnam, Dwaram, Dhanammal 
and many other families are eloquent examples of how heredity creates and 
sustains the finest dynasties of artistes. Mauryas, Guptas, Cholas and the 
Mughals on the political side and eminent sculptors, etc. present finest 
reasons to support the case for sustaining Art in artistes' families. 

Note: It is however strange but true that stalwarts like Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, 
Maha Vaidyanatha Ayyar, Ariyakudi, Chembai, Musiri or Semmangudi have not 
left any of their progeny in the musical field. Of course, the basic causes differ, 
Worth a research. 


The Acharya advises the low-born to move out of his way. The latter enquires 
to which side he should move since he finds God on all sides. The Acharya 
realises the fundamental truth in his averment and respects him. Kanakadasa's 
life (Vide 'A Garland page 104) carries a like incident. 

Guru Vyasa gave bananas to each of his disciples to be taken unobserved . 
All but one returned relishing the taste of the ripe pulpy fruits. Kanakadasa, the 
1 excepted, returned with the banana in hand saying ~ 

1 Wherever I went, I found God's eyes on me; 
I could not take the banana, GurujL ' 

One of the great Dasas, his songs deal with morality, truth, non-casteism and 


' Be careful, the city abounds with bad girls who will lure you with sweet 
words, songs and dances. ' 

' I shall be very careful, Father. Don't worry. ' 

The train from the far South started moving. The young prodigy's fertile 
mind stirred up by the tempo of the train gathering speed presented a 
doubt. He shouted to his father: 


1 Father, If any girl promises she would not touch my purse and solicits... 1 
The loving father, full of solicitude, shouted back: 
1 Wire to me. I too will come. ' 

The first advice denotes Sampradaya (traditional) and the second avanf 

* * * 

HANDEL: (1685-1759) 

i. The birth place of Saint-composer Jayadeva is in dispute - claimed by two 
different places. Sadasiva Brahmendral is reputed to have had his immortality 
at different places of Bharath. Here is a case from the West laying anxious 
claim to a connection which was not there. 

A tablet in Whitchurch Parish Church declares that Handel was organist 
having composed the oratorio of 'Esther' on its organ. Handel was never 
organist there and never composed oratorios on organ. (Pelican - Lives of 
Great Composers.) 

ii. Handel, then a physical, mental and financial wreck, in his characteristic way 
of acting during periods of misfortune promoted a 'Society for the Support of 
Decayed Musicians', which flowered into the Royal Society of Musicians. (It 
is suffering that reveals the ingenuous flame in man and provides the hidden 
genius with opportunities to sparkle.) 

* * * 

There is an amusing or rather a disconcerting account of the way in which 
local pandits disputed the value and authenticity of "Nowka Charitram" of 
Tyagaraja and argued that the story had no basis in puranic lore. It is said that 
Venkataramana Bhagavatar, the prime disciple of Tyagaraja, produced a 
palm-leaf manuscript in Sanskrit which satisfied the pandits! It was learnt only 
later that actually the palm leaf manuscript was the creation of Bhagavatar himself 
who composed verses and resorted to the strategem'to enhance the reputation 
of his master ! ' 

- C.R Ramaswami Ayyar. 

Note: The birth-date of Tyagaraja is settled only on the basis of a cadjarHeaf left by 
Venkata Suri. He might not have had any such need to concoct one! 

* * * 

i. It was night. Muthiah Bhagavatar arrived and Oorkadu Zamindar received 


him. Suddenly the artiste fell at the feet of the Zamindar. Struck by the 
strange conduct, the Zamindar checked up and found his cartman donning 
Bhagavatar's clothes and Bhagavatar the cartman's! Bhagavatar explained 
that it was just a successful masquerade! (Presumably this should have been 
enacted when he was young) 

Source: 'Yengay, Anna Yengay'. 

\l Flute Mali was engaged by Tambaram Sangita Sabha in 1957 with 
M.S.Gopalakrishnan, violinist and Ramnad Eswaran, mridangist as 
accompanists. At the eleventh hour Mali came to the mike and announced 
that he would not play as he was not in a mood to do so and that his disciple 
Kesi would give the concert. 

Source: N. Kesi. 

iii. Veena Seshanna's four-hour concert at Coimbatore was a delight and he 
was honoured with double the promised fee. Seshanna introduced 
Vasudevachar saying, 'He is a great vocal musician. He sings admirably'. 
The great vidwan's introduction led to pressing requests to sing. Failing to 
catch up the joke behind Seshanna's encomium, Vasudeva started singing in 
his own then crude style Okamata Okabanamu (Harikambhoji). Even as he 
opened his mouth to sing, a ripple of laughter ran through the assembly. 
Someone nearby with a sarcastic grin asked him to wind up. Vasudeva hung 
his head down in shame and looked at Seshanna, who covering his face with 
handkerchief was bubbling with uncontrollable laughter! 

Source: S. Krishnamoorty, grandson. 


Wolgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 - December 5, 1791), the 
seventh swara (nishada) of his parents Leopold - Anna Maria Mozart, is among 
the select immortals of the World of Music both as a performing artiste and a 
composer. At five he composed, at seven he wrote violin sonatas and at eight 
symphony. He improvised instantaneously even as Papanasam Sivan composed 
and sang Naan Oru Vilayaattu Bommaiya? Mozart was master of the Mass and 
the Opera. His life was miserable and he gpt in tune with it a pauper's grave, not 
identified till date, at the tender age of thirty-five. He dedicated his genius to 
posterity but suffered misery, sorrow and disappointment since, in the words of Sir 


World is not so ungrateful as is projected. The only fault lies in that it waits for 
the maestro to suffer and die to make up its mind to recognise him. The world is 
now mad after Mozart's creations. In 1990, i.e., two centuries later, his 
manuscripts - neither signed nor dated - written in 1784-85 fetched 800,000 
at the Sotheby (London) sales! Mozart! 

You are indeed rich! Croelty cannot be harsher !! 

Only the sufferer knows what suffering implies. Michael Heydn another great 
composer was unable to complete the work of six duos; his salary was withheld 
and he was in distress. Without a whisper or a word, Mozart, who was on a visit, 
brought the duets written out in a fair copy with only the name of Michael Haydn 
and got it delivered relieving Haydn of his distress. The help was a secret till 
Mozart entered his pauper's grave ! 

It is interesting to mention that the original manuscript of Schumann Piano 
Concerto (with traces of Clara's hand in the autograph score) fetched a fabuluous 
880000 at Sotheby auctions. (Bernard Levin). 


T. Chowdiah Memorial Hall in the shape of a violin at Bangalore. 

Mysore Vasudevacharya Bhavana, Mysore, 

Veena Seshanna Bhavana, Mysore - Gana Bharati. 

Musiri Subramania Ayyar Road, Madras. 

Papanasam Sivan Street, Madras. 

Naina Pillai Road. Kanchipuram . 

Swati Tirunai Music Academy, Trivandrum, 

Chembai Vaidyanatha Bhagavatar Academy. 

Subramania Bharati Memorial at Ettayapuram. 

Muthuswami Dikshitar Memorial, Ettayapuram. 

Classical Carnatic Trinity Birth Homes, Tiruvarur. 

Govinda Dikshitar - lyen Street at Kumbakonam and statue at Pattiswaram. 

Sri Sadasiva Brahmendral Memorial, Nerur and statue at Tlrugokarnam. 

Tiruvisanallur Sri Sridhara Ayyaval Home, Tiruvisanallur. 

Sri Bcdhendra Swamigal Samadhi and Memorial, Govindapuram, Aduthurai. 

Sri Sadguru Swamigal Memorial, Marudhanallur, Kumbakonam. 

Sri Tyagaraja Swamigal Samadhi, Tiruvaiyaru. 


Sri Ramalinga Swamigal's Abode of Siddhi, Vadalur. 
Sri Upanishad Brahmam Ashram, Agastyeswaram. 

* * * 


Gurukulavasa is dead; but is alive in the homes of some artistes such as - 

T.N. Krishnan - Viji Krishnan Natarajan -Sriram. 
Maharajapuram Santhanam S. Ramachandran S.Srinivasan. 
Lalgudi Jayaraman - G.J.R. Krishnan - Vijayalakshmi. 
Flautist Dr. Ramani - Atul Kumar R. Tyagarajan 
Shaikh Chinna Moulana and grandsons. 
T.H. Vinaykaram - his son. 
Generally nagaswara families. 


i. Papanasam Sivan with the privilege of an inspired poet-devotee quipped 
'Nan Oru Vilayattu Bommaiya' (Am I a mere plaything ? ) composed and 
sung on the Mada Street, Mylapore at the spur of the moment That was 
vaggeyakara par excellence*. Good atmosphere, environment, spiritually 
dedicated admirers around (sat sangh) kindle sparks of inspiration without 
ado. (If the Trinity were born near Kotwal chavadi, Madras now, how could 
they bring forth their spiritual ardour, poetic genius and intellectual fervour to 
play amidst the earthy din and dust ? ) 

ii. Here is another occurrence. Devakottai Tyagabrahma Festival. Pudukottai 
Gopalakrishna Bhagavatar was on his rounds through the main streets doing 
bhajan. Tiger Varadachariar and Mazhavarayanendal Subbarama 
Bhagavatar heard of it and joined him, Together they created a temple of 
music on the road and made the occasion memorable with kritis, kirtans, 
neraval and swaras - a rich vocal concert on the road. A veritable public treat 
by titans! It was sat sangh that made a heaven of the place. 


1 A good pallavi demands pre-planning with sidemen... The sollu should be right; 
talakattu should be appropriate. One false beat deprives the beauty of pallavi. Then 
why sing pallavi just for its sake ? ' 

Many may not believe that it was D.K. Jayaraman who told Sruti (No.78) so. 
So concert is reduced to just an avial of sorts without the serious exercise of a 


pallavi, the acme of musical expertise and excellence. Artistes never had 
rehearsals of pallavi before concerts; and how could there be rehearsals where 
it is an exercise in vibrant creativity, intuition and innovation? Patnam 
Subramania Ayyar or Ariyakudi Ramanuja Ayyangar, reputed to be the authors of 
the concert pattern now in vogue, would not have envisaged canoeing in shallow 
ponds which is the concomitant of the 'one false beat' apprehension'. 

Now judge it in the context of the high standards of music and musical 
appreciation in the days of the tamil epic 'Manirnekhalai'. Prince Udayakumaran 
enquires of Ettikumaran the reason for his sadness. Replies Etti: 

11 My Lord, I saw the beautiful damsel Manirnekhalai walking to the flower garden dressed 
as a nun. I felt sad; the sadness resulted in my fingers slipping on the yazh producing 
a false note. It has made me sadder. " 

Etti was not a professional musician but was just a merchant! Yet he is so 
agitated over a single false note! 

Can it be assumed that the Sangita Kalanidhi (DKJ) had been erroneously 
reported (even as some political statements are dealt with)? 


The concert programmes of some prominent sabhas in Madras for 1990-91 
and 1991-92 Fe